I recently had a jury trial in Cumberland where I represented a correctional officer at one of the large State prisons in Western Maryland. I was reminded during the course of the trial of the devastating impact that a work accident can have on someone who lives in Western Maryland.
This was someone who, because of the very serious nature of their work injury, was unable to return to work for the State of Maryland. And when someone loses a good paying union job, that has good benefits and job protections, the results of losing that job are devastating to the worker and their family.
In Maryland, workers’ compensation law does provide vocational services that help injured workers’ find jobs within their physical restrictions. Unfortunately, those jobs are typically non-union, low paying jobs with expensive health care that offer little job protection.
Gone are the days where mining and manufacturing jobs were plentiful and wages were driven up by competition for good reliable workers. Instead, workers’ compensation insurance companies get off cheap and easy compared to the economic and psychological impact suffered by workers who lose their jobs due to work injuries.
While we were able to double the injured worker’s benefits at the trial, it still doesn’t come close to making up for what was lost. That loss is not merely economic, but also the pride and satisfaction that comes with providing for your family. When that’s taken away there is no amount of money that can adequately compensate an injured worker for all that they’ve lost, due to not fault of their own.