A high-profile case this past summer drew attention to an issue we Baltimore County work accident injury lawyers encounter with our clients. What happens if you’re hurt at work in Maryland, but your employer is based out of state? What if your work in Maryland requires you to travel and work at employer sites in other states? How does Maryland Workers Compensation fit into the picture?
Work-related injuries can happen to people in just these types of situations. Often they are sales people, construction workers, and others who travel for their Maryland jobs. But not always.
This past summer, former Washington Redskins pro football player Tom Tupa took his Workers Compensation claim to the Maryland High Court. In August 2005, Tupa injured his back while playing a pre-season game at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland. However, he had an employment contract with Pro-Football, Inc., which is based in Virginia. Tupa and his attorneys pursued the Workers Compensation claim in Maryland courts, asserting that because the injury happened in Maryland – Maryland Workers Comp should cover Tupa’s injuries.
Pro-Football, Inc., argued that Redskins players practiced and attended meetings at company headquarters in Virginia, therefore Tupa was contractually bound to bring any injury claims in Virginia — not Maryland where the injury took place. The court disagreed. The court also determined that Tupa’s injuries were indeed accidental and occurred in the course of his employment – playing pro football – and therefore were compensable.
The Maryland Court of Appeals ruled that it “…had jurisdiction over a football player’s claim and he suffered a compensable injury during the course of his employment.” In other words, Tupa’s employment contract with a Virginia-based employer did not mean he waived his rights to collect Workers’ Compensation in the state of Maryland, where he was regularly employed (i.e., playing football games).
Most Maryland Workers Compensation claims do not make headlines like this one. However regular working people who are hurt on the job may find, like Mr. Tupa, that their employers may throw up roadblocks to their Md. Work Comp claims. Loyalty can go out the window when an employee gets hurt, and a company is looking at being held responsible.
This is why it’s so important to contact an experienced Maryland Workers’ Comp attorney as soon as possible following your work-related injury or illness. If you were injured out of state, or your employer is based out of state – that can throw more wrenches into an already complicated process. Get seasoned legal help to make sure you aren’t denied Workers Compensation to cover your medical bills and lost wages.
Related Maryland Injury Attorney article:
Maryland Work Injury and Death Statistics Shed Light on Most Hazardous Occupations (Jan. 2012)
Case Name: Pro-Football, Inc. v. Tupa, No. 29 September Term, 2011 (Md. 08/22/12)
16-page decision (PDF doc)
Redskins’ punter can collect benefits in Maryland despite contract terms
Risk & Insurance magazine Nov. 22, 2012
Ex-Redskin Tom Tupa can get workers’ comp, Md. high court rules
The Washington Post Aug 23, 2012