Though Maryland State Police will continue their investigation into the causes behind a fatal accident involving a truck and excavation site equipment, surviving family members are grieving the loss of their loved one. Baltimore’s WJLA ABC News Channel 7 covered the story, reporting that the victim was a truck driver for the Maryland State Highway Administration. Apparently, he had exited his parked vehicle near a construction site on the Arundel Expressway in Glen Burnie. The driver was then pinned against his truck tractor when an excavator rotated in his direction. The excavation equipment was moving a concrete barrier, which is the object that struck and pinned the victim.
Surviving family members have legal options after losing a loved one under such circumstances, but they may be precluded from exercising certain rights. The reason is that there are two sets of legal concepts triggered by the accident. Car accident laws and the state workers’ comp system. Your Maryland personal injury attorney can explain the details, but a summary may help.
Overview of Maryland’s Workers’ Comp System
Under state law, you do not have to prove that your employer was at fault in causing your injuries. Instead, you can obtain workers’ comp benefits if you qualify as a covered employee who was hurt in a work-related accident OR suffers from an occupational disease. Your benefits may include amounts to cover your medical treatment, lost wages, and disability. Surviving family members may also be eligible for death benefits.
However, the caveat of Maryland workers’ comp laws is that filing a claim is your sole remedy. You cannot sue your employer in civil court to recover compensation. You are limited to the monetary benefits allowed by workers’ comp. It is not possible to obtain amounts for noneconomic damages, such as pain and suffering.
Exceptions May Allow Other Legal Remedies
The victim in the recent fatal accident would most likely qualify for workers’ comp benefits. But it may be worthwhile for his family to consider other options. The system for workers’ comp does NOT apply in some situations, including when:
- An employer engages in intentional conduct to cause your injuries;
- The employer did not procure proper workers’ comp insurance coverage as required by law; or,
- Even though it was work-related, the injury-causing accident occurred because of negligence by a third party.
If the surrounding circumstances indicate any of these exceptions to workers’ comp as the sole remedy, the victim’s family may qualify to file a lawsuit. For instance, if the excavator operator worked for a different company, there may be grounds for a third-party personal injury case. In a civil court, it is possible to recover for pain and suffering, as well as other noneconomic damages.
Discuss Your Options with a Baltimore County, MD Personal Injury Lawyer
If you were involved in an accident that touches upon both car accident laws and the Maryland workers’ comp system, please contact attorney Michael A. Freedman to set up a free consultation. We can advise you on strategies that will ensure you get the best possible outcome.