What Should I Do if My Maryland Employer Does Not Carry Workers’ Compensation?
All employers in Washington, DC are required to carry workers’ compensation. It is a compulsory requirement for all businesses that employ one or more staff members. Homeowners in Washington, DC are also required to have workers’ compensation insurance for their domestic workers as long as they work a minimum of 240 hours during a calendar quarter.
Most employers get workers’ compensation coverage from a private insurance company. Some can apply for self-insurance, but they have to be approved by the Department of Employment Services (DOES).
When Does Workers’ Compensation Kick-in in Maryland?
Workers’ compensation applies in the following situations for workers who have been in a work-related accident and have sustained injuries as a result of that accident:
- Any injury or death of an employee that occurs in the District of Columbia while performing work for the employer;
- Any injury or death of an employee that occurs outside the District of Columbia but at the time of the injury or death, the employee was employed locally in the District of Columbia.
Employers are liable for compensation for any injury or death regardless of who is at fault as long as the injury or death is the result of a work-related activity or issue. If the employer is a subcontractor, he is still liable for compensation to employees. However, if the employee suffers an injury due to intoxication or by willful intention to injure themselves or others, they are not eligible to receive these benefits.
Workers’ Compensation Exemptions in Maryland
Workers’ compensation does not apply if:
- The employee who was killed or injured was a casual employee. In other words, if the employee is not regularly employed by the employer within the District of Columbia, he will not be covered.
- The employee is not a resident of the District of Columbia and is employed in another state. In such cases, the employee will not be covered even if they are temporarily or intermittently working within the District of Columbia. Their employer, in the other state, is responsible for providing coverage to the workers according to the workers’ compensation laws in their state.
If the Maryland Employer Does Not Have Workers’ Compensation Coverage
In case you get injured at the workplace and your employer does not have workers’ compensation insurance, you can still seek compensation for your injuries from the employer or workers’ compensation agencies.
Keep in mind that your employer is required by law to carry this insurance coverage. There are only two states in the U.S. where workers’ compensation is optional, and those are Texas and Oklahoma. In all other regions, it is mandatory for employers to have this coverage and to provide these benefits to employees in case of any work-related injuries.
If you suffer from an injury, you should proceed as per the requirement of the law and should inform your employer. The first indicator that your employer does not carry workers’ compensation coverage may be when they do not provide you any paperwork to fill out. Even if they don’t come out and say that they do not offer workers’ compensation, you can verify this information online through your state’s workers’ compensation agency websites. Once you’ve confirmed that your employer does not have this coverage, you have the following options:
- File a Lawsuit: You can sue your employer. This is allowed in almost every state in the U.S. if the employer, who is legally obligated to carry workers’ compensation coverage, fails to do so. However, if you do decide to file a lawsuit, make sure you consult a lawyer who has previously dealt with workers’ compensation cases. In a lawsuit of this type, the employee will have to prove that the employer was responsible for the injuries that were incurred. In ideal circumstances, where the employer has insurance and where the employees file everything on time and as specified, approvals are generally quick and easy. But in case of a lawsuit, things can take longer to settle down, and your benefit payments may be delayed.
- File a Claim with the State: Another option could be to file a claim against the state’s Uninsured Employer Fund. This fund is intended to be used when employers fail to compensate their workers for the injuries they have incurred. This does not mean that the state simply hands over the money to the employee on behalf of the employer. The state will provide benefits to the employee and then will seek reimbursement from the employer who is uninsured. However, it is important to note that the benefits that the employee receives may be less than the traditional benefits that they would get under the traditional workers’ compensation model. You may only receive part of your lost wages, and you are, in most cases, not entitled to receive any compensation for pain and suffering. Compared to a lawsuit, benefits using this approach are approved faster, and you do not have to prove that your employer was at fault for the injuries that you have incurred.
Consult with a Maryland Workers’ Comp Attorney About Your Claim
Whether you choose the first option or the second one, you need to make sure you talk to a workers’ compensation attorney. At Ashcraft & Gerel, LLP, workers’ compensation is our single largest area of practice. We have been involved in dealing with such claims and cases for the last 60 years and are aware of which strategies to use when dealing with uninsured employers, employers who dispute your claim, as well as insurance companies and workers’ compensation boards and agencies.
Contact us today and we will ensure you get the benefits you deserve. Our attorneys work on a contingent fee basis which means that you do not have to pay us unless the decision is in your favor. If you want to learn more about filing a workers’ comp claim or how you can sue or take action an against an employer who does not carry this coverage or does not want to accept that the injury was work-related, call us today at 1-844-707-8422.