Construction work in Maryland often involves long hours, hard labor, modest wages, and job security that's entirely dependent on the season, the market, and the employer. As experienced Baltimore, Maryland Construction accident attorneys, we've represented many clients over the years who were injured while performing their construction jobs. One question we get asked all the time is...
"Can I file a claim under Maryland Workers' Compensation and a lawsuit against the at-fault party (or parties) at the same time?"
The answer is YES. However, as with most things legal, there are many factors to consider.
Maryland Workers Compensation Liens Against Third-Party Recovery
Construction accidents in Maryland may frequently involve Workers Compensation claims and liability lawsuits. In Maryland, if you're a construction worker and you get hurt on the business premises, in the course of your employment, while performing your job -- you can pursue a workers comp case. But what if you believe your injury was caused by a third-party's negligence or recklessness -- be it another contractor, a subcontractor, equipment operator, or some other worker or party involved at the construction site?
If you're a worker injured in a Maryland construction accident, you don't have to choose between filing a Md. Workers Compensation claim and suing the responsible parties for what's called a third-party liability claim. You can do both. Remember, however, if you are awarded a third-party recovery in a construction accident lawsuit, the Workers' Compensation carrier is allowed by law to place a lien against that recovery.
For example, a builder we'll call Joe Mason suffers a neck and spine injury when his pickup truck is rear-ended by another vehicle at the construction site. As a result of this construction truck accident, Joe needs money to pay his medical bills, cover his lost wages, and compensate him for his permanent impairment, so he files a Maryland Workers Comp claim. Joe is awarded $120K in permanent partial disability benefits by his employer's workers comp insurance carrier. At this point, Joe's Maryland injury attorney pursues a lawsuit against the other construction vehicle driver, and Joe receives a third-party recovery settlement of $240K. But, as law would have it, Joe isn't allowed to "double dip."
Under Maryland law, the Workers' Compensation carrier is entitled to a lien against any third-party recovery. So Joe might have to pay the Maryland Workers Compensation carrier some of their monetary outlay back. Special emphasis on some. An experienced Maryland injury attorney can, will and should negotiate with the work comp people to get that lien reduced, so injured construction workers like Joe can benefit from as much compensation for their injuries as possible.
Workers' Compensation liens are just one reason why it's so important to work with an experienced Maryland Workers' Comp lawyer if you're hurt while performing your construction job. This is a very complicated area of the law, and one must proceed with extreme caution in handling such claims. It really is a no-brainer. In a situation like this, the best bet is to focus 100% on getting the treatment you need, feeling better and getting back to full capacity, and let the lawyers handle these complex legal issues.
Related Web Resources
Maryland Workers' Compensation Commission
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health: Construction Safety