Chapter Two: Who is Covered by Workers’ Comp Insurance in Maryland?
Most employers in Maryland are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. However, an employer-employee relationship must exist for an individual to be covered by workers’ compensation insurance.
Employees vs. Independent Contractors
Workers’ comp does not cover independent contractors. Some employers hire independent contractors or attempt to classify employees as independent contractors to avoid covering workers as employees for workers’ compensation benefits. An individual is typically considered an employee if the employer:
- Dictates the person’s working hours;
- Instructs the person on what to do during working hours;
- Dictates how the job is performed;
- Designates lunch and break times;
- Provides tools and materials to perform job duties;
- Provides benefits such as paid time off, retirement, health insurance, etc.;
- Pays the person by the hour, week, or other definite period;
- Requires work to be performed on employer’s premises; and,
- Pays for business and travel expenses.
Independent contractors typically offer their services to the general public and may work for several clients simultaneously, whereas an employee only works for one company at a time.
In most cases, a person is presumed to be an employee unless the employer provides evidence to prove that the worker is an independent contractor or otherwise exempted from covered employment under Maryland’s Workers’ Compensation Act. If an employer or its workers’ compensation carrier attempts to classify you as an independent contractor, you should contact a Maryland workers’ comp attorney as soon as possible. Classification as an independent contractor could result in your workers’ comp claim being denied.
Does Workers’ Compensation Insurance Cover My Injury?
While workers’ compensation insurance covers most injuries that occur while on the job, not all workplace injuries are covered by workers’ comp. The Workers’ Compensation Act covers an “accidental personal injury arising out of and in the course of employment.” An “accidental injury” is typically defined as:
- An injury arising during the normal course of employment;
- An injury caused by a negligent or willful act of a third person directed at the employee during the normal course of employment; or,
- An occupational disease or illness arising during the normal course of employment.
The other important term to consider is “normal course of employment.” For workers’ compensation to cover harm to an employee, the harm must have occurred while the employee was performing his or her normal work duties in a location designated by the employer to perform those duties. In other words, the injury or illness must have been related to the person’s employment to be covered by workers’ compensation insurance.
Employers and workers’ compensation insurance companies may attempt to deny a workers’ comp claim by alleging that the harm did not arise during the normal course of employment or was not an accidental injury. In some cases, an investigation may be necessary to verify that the injury or illness was directly related to the person’s employment.
A Maryland workers’ compensation attorney can perform an independent investigation to ensure that all relevant facts are considered when determining if workers’ compensation insurance covers the injury or illness. The Pinder Plotkin legal team has experience investigating workers’ comp claims and aggressively fights to ensure that injured workers receive the benefits they are entitled to receive when they are hurt at work. Call 410-661-9440 to schedule a free consultation with a Maryland workers’ compensation lawyer to discuss your claim.
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