Nurses injured on the job have many hurdles when seeking workers compensation benefits for accidents at the hospitals and clinics. When a nurse or home care aid sustains a herniated disc lifting and re-positioning a patient, or falling at the bedridden client’s residence, the location of the accident is not as critical as the mechanism and timing of the injury. If the health care worker suffers a sudden, accidental injury in the course and scope of their employment, resulting in disability from work and/or permanent impairment, then it will usually fall under the protection of the Workers Compensation Act. Once they leave the premises, to commute home, they may not be covered if they are involved in a car crash. However, if the nurse or home health aid is going from one patient’s home to another, it may still be covered by workers comp, in addition to their potential motor vehicle negligence case !
If a nurse or other health care aid is injured while on the job in a patient’s home, is that a compensable workers’ compensation claim? In most cases, the answer is Yes.
In Maryland, unless you have an occupational disease, a compensable claim is defined as an accidental injury arising out of and during the course of employment. This means anything that happens — short of an intentional act to injure one’s self, violation of a safety rule or where drugs or alcohol are involved — could be covered under a workers’ compensation claim.
Here is an interesting spin on what makes for a compensable claim that was recently argued by a colleague of Herndon workers’ compensation attorney Doug Landau. A claimant was at a physical therapist facility receiving treatment for a work-related accident when he slipped outside on an icy sidewalk. The astute attorney argued had it not been for the employment accident in the first place, the client would never have been exposed to the icy sidewalk that caused him further injury. Lawyer Landau agrees with the way this case was handled. “The idea behind workers’ compensation is to compensate workers when they are injured as a result of their employment. The claimant being at the physical therapy office was a result of his employment as a home health care worker,” says Landau.
If you or someone you know has been injured during the course of your employment and there are questions as to what laws apply, email or call Abrams Landau, Ltd. at once (703-796-9555).