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Workers’ Compensation and Occupational Diseases for State Correctional Officers

Workers’ compensation is provided for employees as protection when the employee is injured while on the job. At the outset, employees would have to file claims against the employer to show that there was negligence on the part of the employer that led to the permanent or temporary injury of the employee. However, the legal process can be long and overwrought, with negligence difficult to prove. In order to make the system more effective, this insurance system available to employers, specifically workers’ compensation, provides monetary compensation to an injured employee without the wasted time and money trying to prove negligence in a courtroom.

Parameters of Workers’ Compensation in Maryland

Workers’ compensation is generally thought of as an injury that occurs as a result of an accident. Maryland law does have specific language that may not permit every accident that occurs during employment to fall under the definition. Generally, it is easier to demonstrate your case for workers’ compensation when the job requirements lend themselves to a certain level of risk or danger. Additionally, Maryland law requires that the accident itself must arise out of and during the course of employment, thus making the distinction that just because a person is injured during the workday, or while on the job, does not automatically win the argument. An exception to the accident requirement is where the job itself may lead to occupational diseases.

Occupational Diseases

Occupational diseases may have an obvious cause and effect; such as where a person is diagnosed with asbestosis, which is a disease associated with overexposure to asbestos. It would be an easy conclusion that a person who works with asbestos or whose job put the person in a situation to be exposed to asbestos may later suffer from asbestosis. Sometimes, however, occupational diseases may be less obvious and might require considerable case studies to show that a disease or condition has occurred as a result of the occupation, and not due to other, external influences.

Occupational Diseases as Rebuttable Presumptions

In Maryland, occupational disease presumptions, where studies provide a showing that a certain profession is correlated with certain diseases, are rebuttable presumptions. This implies that where there is a presumption that a certain disease is associated with a certain profession unless there is contrary evidence to disprove the presumption, and therefore rebut the presumption, the presumption of correlation stands.

State Correctional Officers in Maryland: Heart Disease and Hypertension as Occupational Diseases

Maryland legislature in 2016 has brought in a bill that would provide workers’ compensation benefits to State correctional officers that suffer from heart disease or hypertension. According to one study that is foundational for the bill that was submitted to Maryland’s legislature, correctional officers that oversee and supervise men and women who have been arrested and are awaiting trial or men and women who are serving a prison term or sentence, are more likely to be injured and ill as a result of possible confrontations with this group.

It has been hypothesized that state correctional officers, as a result of stress-induced from their job requirements and frequent confrontations with inmates, they are more likely to suffer from heart disease and hypertension. This analysis is in addition to the fact that State police officers already receive workers’ compensation benefits for heart disease and hypertension, and the Maryland legislature does not see a distinction in job requirements that would demonstrate that State correctional officers do not suffer from the same illnesses as State police officers engaged in the same tasks.

Charles County, MD Personal Injury Lawyers that Fight for You

Workers’ compensation and benefits are essential and knowing the ins and outs of workers’ compensation protections are key to ensuring that you and your loved ones are protected in the event of an accident or an occupational disease. It is important to consult with an experienced Maryland personal injury attorney about what you deserve if you have been injured on the job. Please call the Law Office of Robert R. Castro at (301) 804-2312 for a confidential consultation.