Workers’ Comp

Maryland Workers Compensation Lawyer

Workers injured on the job in Maryland have certain protections and benefits under the Maryland Workers’ Compensation Act. Under the Act, an injured worker and his or her dependents are entitled to receive certain forms of compensation and/or benefits without the need to establish that someone was negligent. This requirement means that the worker does not have to prove the employer or someone else did something to cause the injury to receive compensation. Employers are required to carry this coverage for all their employees and failure to so can result in a $10,000.00 fine.

The security of having the right seek compensation whenever an injury arises out of the course of employment is balanced by the fact that the employee is then prohibited from suing the employer in a negligence action. In fact, there are very strict guidelines to follow in terms of the compensation an injured worker can recover. Therefore, Maryland workers have to act quickly and be very careful to take the necessary steps whenever they are injured when at work.

AM I AN EMPLOYEE FOR PURPOSES OF WORKMAN’S COMPENSATION CLAIMS??

Under Maryland law, the driving factor in establishing whether one is an employee is whether the employer had the “right to control” the actions by the individual. If, and only if, the worker establishes the employer’s right to direct or restrict the workers actions can then he or she be entitled to receive benefit.

IS MY INJURY COVERED BY THE MARYLAND WORKMAN’S COMPENSATION ACT?

The act covers accidental injury occurring out of and in the course of employment. To determine if your injury is covered, you need to answer the following questions:

1. Type of Injury

Simply put, any accidental injury suffered while working is entitled recover compensation under the act.

2. IS MY INJURY WORK-RELATED?

To determine if your injury is work-related, you have to answer one or both of these questions:

1. Was the injury in the course of employment?

Did the injury occur during work hours? When on work premises? At a job site? If the answer is yes, then it is a work-related injury and you are entitled to benefits.

2. Was the injury out of the employment?

Did the injury occur because of the work conditions? Is the injury a foreseeable result of the work conditions? If the answer is yes, then it is a work-related injury and you are entitled to benefits.

WHAT TYPE OF BENEFITS AM I ENTITLED TO UNDER THE MARYLAND WORKER’S COMPENSATION ACT?

Benefits are determined based on the level of disability caused by the injury.

  • Temporary Total Disability
    • As the name suggests, this means you cannot work for a period of time. You are entitled to two-thirds of your average weekly wage during this time. You will be paid until when your doctor indicates that you have recovered as much as is medically possible or your disability is deemed permanent.
  • Permanent Total Disability
    • If your injury was so severe that you are no longer capable of working, then you may be entitled to receive benefits under permanent total disability. You will receive two-thirds of your average weekly wage for as long as your condition stays the same. 
  • Temporary Partial Disability
    • If you return to work before you are fully recovered and perform limited duties or work part time hours for a reduced paycheck, you may still be entitled to benefits. You would be entitled to half the difference between your average weekly wage before and after the accident. 
  • Permanent Partial Disability
    • Have you suffered a work injury that resulted in the loss of part of your body? The workers’ compensation act has a schedule indicating what benefits you should receive on a weekly basis for your loss. 
  • Death Benefits
    • In the event that a worker dies as result of a work injury, his or her dependents are entitled to compensation under the act. The workers minor children and spouse are entitled to benefits. 

ADDITIONAL BENEFITS

Beyond replacing the lost income of an injured workers, the Maryland Workers’ Compensation Act also provides for payment of medical bills and job training.

Medical/Hospitalization Benefits

Injured workers are entitled to receive complete care for covered injuries and therefore do not have shoulder the burden of medical bills.

Vocational Rehabilitation Benefits
Vocational training services that may last up to two years is available to help workers transition into a new position.

 

IS THERE A DEADLINE TO FILE A CLAIM?

You have two critical deadlines you have comply with whenever possible.

  • You are required to notify your employer within 10 days of the injury.
  • Your claim must be filed with the Workers’ Compensation Commission within 60 days.

Failure to follow these deadlines can result in your claim being denied.

Do you or a loved one need to talk about a work-related injury with workers’ compensation lawyer? Call (410) 849-9529.

 

Recent Workers Comp Case: Coverage applies when traveling between sites where you perform employer-encouraged activities such as this instance where the employer encouraged workers to exercise and even paid employees for participating. 

WORKERS’ COMPENSATION – GOING AND COMING RULE
The going and coming rule, which generally precludes an award of workers’ compensation to an employee traveling to and from work, is not applicable when an employee is traveling from one site, where he was engaged in employer-encouraged activities, to another site, where he was to engage in a work-related task, to which his employer acquiesced.
Circuit Court for Montgomery County
Case No. #345839
Argued 12/10/13
IN THE COURT OF APPEALS OF
MARYLAND
No. 39
September Term, 2013
THADDUS ROBERTS
v.
MONTGOMERY COUNTY,
MARYLAND
Barbera, C.J.
Harrell
Battaglia
Greene
Adkins
McDonald
Watts,
JJ.
Opinion by Battaglia, J.
Filed: January 28, 2014
The present case presents itself in the Workers’ Compensation context, as Thaddus
Roberts, Petitioner, a paid firefighter employed by Montgomery County, Respondent, filed
a claim pursuant to the Maryland Workers’ Compensation Act, alleging 1 that he was injured
1 Section 9-709 of the Labor and Employment Article, Maryland Code (1991, 2008
Repl. Vol.), provides:
(a) Filing claim — In general; authorization for release of
relevant medical information. — (1) Except as provided in
subsection (c) of this section, if a covered employee suffers an
accidental personal injury, the covered employee, within 60 days
after the date of the accidental personal injury, shall file with the
Commission:
(i) a claim application form; and
(ii) if the covered employee was attended by a physician chosen
by the covered employee, the report of the physician.
(2)(i) A claim application form filed under paragraph (1) of this
subsection shall include an authorization by the claimant for the
release, to the claimant’s attorney, the claimant’s employer, and
the insurer of the claimant’s employer, or an agent of the
claimant’s attorney, the claimant’s employer, or the insurer of the
claimant’s employer, of medical information that is relevant to:
1. the member of the body that was injured, as indicated on the
claim application form; and
2. the description of how the accidental personal injury
occurred, as indicated on the claim application form.
(ii) An authorization under subparagraph (i) of this paragraph:
1. includes the release of information relating to the history,
findings, office and patient charts, files, examination and
progress notes, and physical evidence;
2. is effective for 1 year from the date the claim is filed; and
3. does not restrict the redisclosure of medical information or
written material relating to the authorization to a medical
manager, health care professional, or certified rehabilitation
practitioner.
(b) Failure to file claim. — (1) Unless excused by the
(continued…)
in an accident that occurred when he was leaving the Washington Capital Beltway on his
motorcycle, on his way from physical training at Friendly High School, located in Fort
Washington, to Fire Station 19, in Silver Spring.
(…continued)
Commission under paragraph (2) of this subsection, failure to
file a claim in accordance with subsection (a) of this section bars
a claim under this title.
(2) The Commission may excuse a failure to file a claim in
accordance with subsection (a) of this section if the Commission
finds:
(i) that the employer or its insurer has not been prejudiced by
the failure to file the claim; or
(ii) another sufficient reason.
(3) Notwithstanding paragraphs (1) and (2) of this subsection,
if a covered employee fails to file a claim within 2 years after
the date of the accidental personal injury, the claim is
completely barred.
(c) Filing claim — Ionizing radiation. — If a covered employee
is disabled due to an accidental personal injury from ionizing
radiation, the covered employee shall file a claim with the
Commission within 2 years after:
(1) the date of disablement; or
(2) the date when the covered employee first knew that the
disablement was due to ionizing radiation.
(d) Estoppel or fraud. — (1) If it is established that a failure to
file a claim in accordance with this section was caused by fraud
or by facts and circumstances amounting to an estoppel, the
covered employee shall file a claim with the Commission within
1 year after:
(i) the date of the discovery of the fraud; or
(ii) the date when the facts and circumstances that amount to
estoppel ceased to operate.
(2) Failure to file a claim in accordance with paragraph (1) of
this subsection bars a claim under this title.
All statutory references throughout are to Maryland Code (1991, 2008 Repl. Vol.), unless
otherwise noted.
2
The operative facts are largely undisputed and are derived 2 from Mr. Roberts’s
affidavit filed in support of his Motion for Summary Judgment in the Circuit Court for
Montgomery County, as well as his testimony before the Maryland Workers’ Compensation
Commission (“Commission”). Mr. Roberts, at the time of his injury, was working in a “light
duty”3 position with the Fire Department, due to problems related to a prior compensable
back injury and was assigned to Fire Department Headquarters, located in Rockville, as
opposed to his “regular duty” station, which was Fire Station 19. While on light duty, Mr.
Roberts worked four ten-hour shifts per week, starting at 7 a.m. and ending at 5 p.m. Mr.
Roberts, as with other firefighters including those on light duty, were encouraged by the Fire
Department to engage in two hours of physical training per shift, was paid during those two
hours, and could physically train at any location of his choice.
While Mr. Roberts was on light duty, approximately once per month, he would “stop
2 In its brief and during the course of oral argument before us, Montgomery County
interposed the notion that Mr. Roberts did not have permission to visit Fire Station 19 and
that Mr. Roberts was engaged in a “frolic” or “detour” at the time of his injury. In so doing,
the County is apparently invoking notions reflected in Atlantic Refining Co. v. Forrester, 180
Md. 517, 25 A.2d 667 (1942) and Garrity v. Injured Workers’ Insurance Fund, 203 Md.
App. 285, 37 A.3d 1053 (2012), where compensation was denied. The County, though, had
not raised the issues of permission or “frolic and detour” below so we do not consider the
issues.
3 A firefighter is placed on “light duty,” when he or she cannot “physically perform
the tasks of his job or meet the demands of working as a firefighter” and is assigned to
“performing less physically strenuous tasks.” See Montgomery County v. Deibler, 423 Md.
54, 58, 31 A.3d 191, 193 (2011).
3
by” Fire Station 19 to pick up his “work mail,” left for him at that location, 4 “which included
things such as interoffice memos and letters from Montgomery County’s Department of
Human Resources,” and was a practice observed by firefighters on light duty, about which
Mr. Roberts’s supervisors were aware.5 On the day of Mr. Roberts’s accident and resulting
injury, he arrived at Friendly High School around 7 a.m. and trained until 8:30 a.m., at which
time he left and traveled to gather the mail at Fire Station 19. En route, at approximately
9:15 a.m., Mr. Roberts was involved in the accident that is the genesis of the instant case.6
4 Mr. Roberts testified before the Commission that he traveled to Fire Station 19 to
check to see if he had any “office mail.” In the affidavit attached to his Motion for Summary
Judgment filed in the Circuit Court for Montgomery County, Mr. Roberts averred that he was
traveling to Fire Station 19 to pick up his “work mail, which included things such as
interoffice memos and letters from Montgomery County’s Department of Human Resources.”
5 During the hearing before the Commission, the following colloquy occurred: [MR. ROBERTS’S ATTORNEY]: How often would you go to
the station before you would go to light duty? [MR. ROBERTS]: About every month or so. [MR. ROBERTS’S ATTORNEY]: What’s the specific reason
you would need to stop at the station? [MR. ROBERTS]: To go by there and check and see if I had any
office mail or anything. [MR. ROBERTS’S ATTORNEY]: So mail that’s directed to
you would go to a slot or a box at the station? [MR. ROBERTS]: Yes, my officer would put it in my box.
In his Summary Judgment affidavit, Mr. Roberts stated: “Approximately once a month, while
I was on light duty, I would stop by my fire station to pick up my work mail. . . . I received
no personal mail at the fire station. Other fire fighters on light duty would also do this and
my supervisors were aware of the practice.”
6 Mr. Roberts’s Summary Judgment affidavit in its totality, stated:
(continued…)
4
Montgomery County contested Mr. Roberts’s claim at the Commission, 7 alleging that
(…continued)
1. I have been a paid career Montgomery County firefighter
since 1986.
2. On October 28, 2010, I was working in a “light duty”
position with the Montgomery County Department of Fire and
Rescue Services, due to problems related to my 2004
compensable back injury at work.
3. At the time of my injury on October 28, 2010 my schedule
consisted of four 10-hour shifts per week, beginning at 7 a.m.
and ending at 5 p.m. On October 28, 2010, my shift, and my
pay for the day, began at 7 a.m.
4. All fire fighters, including those on “light duty,” are
encouraged by their supervisors and allowed to do two hours of
physical training during their 10-hour shifts. This physical
training can be done at any place of the fire fighter’s choosing.
The amount of physical training a fire fighter does is significant
on the fire fighter’s yearly performance appraisal.
5. On October 28, 2010, I went to Friendly High School to use
the school’s track to walk laps for physical training. I arrived
there shortly before 7 a.m., when my shift started and my pay for
the day began.
6. Approximately once a month, while I was on light duty, I
would stop by my fire station to pick up my work mail, which
included things such as interoffice memos and letters from
Montgomery County’s Department of Human Resources. I
received no personal mail at the fire station. Other fire fighters
on light duty would also do this and my supervisors were aware
of the practice.
7. On October 28, 2010, I walked approximately 10 laps around
the track, and then left Friendly High School at approximately
8:30 a.m. I then left the school on my way to my station to pick
up my work mail. I was riding my motorcycle. Traffic was very
heavy that day and so instead of taking the Georgia Avenue exit
to get to my station, I took the exit before that, Colesville Road,
to get off the congested highway. Shortly after I exited the
Capital Beltway onto Colesville Road, I lost control of my
motorcycle and crashed.
5
Mr. Roberts’s injury did not arise out of or in the course of his employment, among other
Section 9-713 of the Labor and Employment 7 Article, provides:
(a) Payment or filing within 21 days. — Except as provided in
subsection (c) of this section, within 21 days of the mailing of
the notice of the filing of a claim, the employer or its insurer
shall:
(1) begin paying temporary total disability benefits; or
(2) file with the Commission any issue to contest the claim.
(b) Failure to pay or file within 21 days — Penalties. — If the
Commission finds that an employer or insurer has failed,
without good cause, to begin paying temporary total disability
benefits or to file issues contesting a claim within 21 days of the
mailing of the notice of the filing of a claim, the Commission
may assess against the employer or insurer a fine not exceeding
20% of the amount of the payment.
(c) Payment or filing within 30 days. — If the employer or its
insurer does not begin paying benefits or file issues within 21
days under subsection (a) of this section, within 30 days of the
mailing of the notice of the filing of a claim, the employer or its
insurer shall:
(1) begin paying temporary total disability benefits; or
(2) file with the Commission any issue to contest the claim.
(d) Failure to pay or file within 30 days — Penalties. — If the
Commission finds that an employer or insurer has failed,
without good cause, to begin paying temporary total disability
benefits or to file issues contesting a claim within 30 days of the
mailing of the notice of the filing of a claim, the Commission
may assess against the employer or insurer a fine not exceeding
40% of the payment.
(e) Payment to covered employee. — The Commission shall
order the employer or insurer to pay a fine assessed under this
section to the covered employee.
(f) Payment of benefits not waiver. — Subject to § 9-714 of this
subtitle, payment by an employer or its insurer before an award
does not waive the right of the employer or its insurer to contest
the claim.
6
issues not before us. The Commission, after a hearing, disallowed Mr. 8 9 Roberts’s claim in
an order, which, in relevant part, provided:
The Commission finds on the first issue that the claimant
did not sustain an accidental injury arising out of and in the
course of employment as alleged to have occurred on October
28, 2010. Therefore, the remaining issues are not applicable,
and the Commission will disallow the claim filed herein.
Mr. Roberts then filed a “Petition for Judicial Review,” as well as a “Request for Jury
Trial,”10 in the Circuit Court for Montgomery County and, thereafter, a Motion for Summary
8 In the form filed contesting Mr. Roberts’s claim, Montgomery County indicated that
it would be raising issues, in addition to the claim that Mr. Roberts’s accidental injury did
not arise out of and in the course of his employment. The “other” issues raised at the hearing
before the Commission were “notice” and “[t]emporary total disability.” These “other”
issues are not before us.
9 Section 9-714 of the Labor and Employment Article, provides:
(a) Investigation; hearing. — When the Commission receives a
claim, the Commission:
(1) may investigate the claim; and
(2) on application of any party to the claim, shall order a
hearing.
(b) Determination. — (1) The Commission shall make or deny
an award within 30 days:
(i) after the mailing of the notice of the filing of a claim; or
(ii) if a hearing is held, after the hearing is concluded.
(2) The decision shall be recorded in the principal office of the
Commission, and a copy of the decision shall be sent by firstclass
mail to each party’s attorney of record or, if the party is
unrepresented, to the party.
10 Section 9-745 of the Labor and Employment Article, provides:
(a) In general. — The proceedings in an appeal shall:
(continued…)
7
Judgment. The County responded and denied liability, as well as filed an Opposition to
Claimant’s Motion for Summary Judgment and a Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment, in
which it alleged that Mr. Roberts’s injury did not arise out of and in the course of his
employment, because he was “going and coming” to work at the time of his injury: “He was
not traveling between two sections of the Employer’s premises, nor was he injured in an
employer-provided parking lot. He was simply on his way to work, driving his own
(…continued)
(1) be informal and summary; and
(2) provide each party a full opportunity to be heard.
(b) Presumption and burden of proof. — In each court
proceeding under this title:
(1) the decision of the Commission is presumed to be prima
facie correct; and
(2) the party challenging the decision has the burden of proof.
(c) Determination by court. — The court shall determine
whether the Commission:
(1) justly considered all of the facts about the accidental
personal injury, occupational disease, or compensable hernia;
(2) exceeded the powers granted to it under this title; or
(3) misconstrued the law and facts applicable in the case
decided.
(d) Request for jury trial. — On a motion of any party filed with
the clerk of the court in accordance with the practice in civil
cases, the court shall submit to a jury any question of fact
involved in the case.
(e) Disposition. — (1) If the court determines that the
Commission acted within its powers and correctly construed the
law and facts, the court shall confirm the decision of the
Commission.
(2) If the court determines that the Commission did not act
within its powers or did not correctly construe the law and facts,
the court shall reverse or modify the decision or remand the case
to the Commission for further proceedings.
8
motorcycle. None of the exceptions set forth in [Board of County Commissioners for
Frederick County v. Vache, 349 Md. 526, 709 A.2d 155 (1998) ] apply, 11 and his claim is
barred by the going and coming rule.” Mr. Roberts countered that his injury was
compensable, because “but for” his “work-related duties of physical training and receiving
11 In Vache, 349 Md. at 532, 709 A.2d at 158, four exceptions to the “going and
coming” rule were enumerated:
Onto this general rule, however, the courts have
engrafted several exceptions when compensation benefits may
properly be granted. [1.] Thus, where the employer furnishes the
employee free transportation to and from work, the employee is
deemed to be on duty, and an injury sustained by the employee
during such transportation arises out of and in the course of
employment. Tavel v. Bechtel Corporation, 242 Md. 299, 304,
219 A.2d 43 (1966); Rumple v. Henry H. Meyer Co., Inc., 208
Md. 350, 357, 118 A.2d 486 (1955). [2.] Compensation may
also be properly awarded where the employee is injured while
traveling along or across a public road between two portions of
the employer’s premises. Wiley Mfg., 280 Md. at 206, 373 A.2d
613; Procter[Proctor]-Silex v. DeBrick, 253 Md. 477, 482, 252
A.2d 800 (1969). [3.] The “proximity” exception allows
compensation for an injury sustained off-premises, but while the
employee is exposed to a peculiar or abnormal degree to a
danger which is annexed as a risk incident to the employment.
Pariser Bakery v. Koontz, 239 Md. 586, 591, 212 A.2d 324
(1965); see Md. Paper Products Co. v. Judson, 215 Md. 577,
584-588, 139 A.2d 219 (1958). [4.] Injuries incurred while the
employee travels to or from work in performing a special
mission or errand for the employer are likewise compensable.
Reisinger-Siehler Co. v. Perry, 165 Md. 191, 199, 167 A. 51
(1933); see Dir. of Finance v. Alford, 270 Md. 355, 359-364,
311 A.2d 412 (1973).
Id. at 532, 709 A.2d at 158 (alterations in original), quoting Alitalia Linee Aeree Italiane v.
Tornillo, 329 Md. 40, 44, 617 A.2d 572, 574 (1993).
9
his work mail, he would not have been travelling [sic] between Friendly High School and
Station 19,” and he was in a place he could reasonably be expected to be in going from one
“work-related duty” of physical training, to another, checking his work mail, which was
“acquiesced to by Mr. Roberts’s supervisors.” The Circuit Court granted the County’s Cross-
Motion for Summary Judgment denying Mr. Roberts’s claim, ruling orally and later in
writing that Mr. Roberts was not entitled to workers’ compensation, because the injury
occurred while “he was coming and going” to work.
Mr. Roberts noted an appeal to the Court of Special Appeals, of which a panel, in an
unreported opinion, affirmed the decision of the Circuit Court, over a dissent by Judge Albert
Matricciani. The majority of the three-judge panel of the Court of Special Appeals agreed
with the County and determined that Mr. Roberts was only “at work” when he was at
Headquarters, so that his injury was not compensable, because he was going to work at the
time of his accident:
Although Roberts’s schedule on October 28, 2010, consisted of
four 10-hour shifts per week, beginning at 7 a.m. and ending at
5 p.m., and his pay for the day began at 7 a.m., he did not report
to work at the Rockville headquarters because he “never made
it.” We deduce from this evidence that although Roberts was
paid for ten hours per day, he was “at work” only when he was
at the Rockville Headquarters.
The majority, moreover, reasoned:
Although Roberts and his co-workers check their mail
periodically and their supervisors “were aware of the practice,”
neither party provided evidence to show that checking work related
mail was an official part of the employees’ work duties
10
rather than waiting until it was forwarded to their place of
assignment. Thus, we presume that employees were permitted
to check their mail on their own time and at their own risk.
In addition, in this case, Roberts was injured while on his
way to Station 19 to pick up his office mail. There may have
been a different outcome if Roberts had been injured while
picking up his mail at Station 19.
Judge Matricciani, however, was “unpersuaded that Roberts was ‘at work’ only when
present at the Rockville Headquarters, as the majority indicates . . . . His work day began at
7 a.m. and continued to 5 p.m.,” and further opined:
Reasonable minds can differ as to whether appellant was
“going” to work when he was injured. In my judgment, he
would not have been injured “but for” his efforts to keep abreast
of his work obligations and, thus, the “positional risk” test
favors him under these circumstances. Montgomery Cnty. v.
Wade, 345 Md. 1, 9-10 (1997) (“An injury is said to ‘arise out
of’ one’s employment when it results from some obligation,
condition, or incident of the employment.”); see also Livering v.
Richardson’s Rest., 374 Md. 566, 575 (2003) (“The positional risk
test is essentially a ‘but for’ test”).
We granted certiorari, Roberts v. Montgomery County, 431 Md. 444, 66 A.3d 47
(2013), to consider the following questions:12
1. A compensable workers’ compensation injury is one that
occurs in a place the employee would not have been “but for”
his employment and while engaged in an activity incident to his
employment. Mr. Roberts was involved in a car accident while
he was already on duty, being paid, and traveling between his
employer-encouraged physical training session and the firehouse
where he worked. Did the majority in the Court of Special
Because of our disposition of the first two questions, we need 12 not and will not
address the third.
11
Appeals err in upholding the denial of workers’ compensation
to Mr. Roberts?
2. The “going and coming” rule bars workers’ compensation
benefits for injuries that occur while an employee is on his way
to or from his job at the beginning or end of the day, or for a
lunch period. Mr. Roberts was involved in a car accident while
he was already on duty, being paid, and traveling between his
employer-encouraged physical training session and the firehouse
where he worked. Did the majority in the Court of Special
Appeals err in holding that the “going and coming” rule bars
Mr. Roberts’ entitlement to workers’ compensation benefits?
3. Did the majority in the Court of Special Appeals below err in
upholding the denial of workers’ compensation to Mr. Roberts,
where its decision was premised on facts not contained in the
record?
In considering these questions, we must determine whether, as a matter of law, Mr. Roberts
sustained a “compensable injury.” We will hold 13 he did and explain.
The Workers’ Compensation Act, located at Sections 9-101 through 9-1201 of the
Labor and Employment Article, was intended “‘to protect workers and their families from
hardships inflicted by work-related injuries by providing workers with compensation for loss
of earning capacity resulting from accidental injury arising out of and in the course of
employment.’” Johnson v. Mayor & City Council of Baltimore, 430 Md. 368, 377, 61 A.3d
33, 38 (2013), quoting Montgomery County v. Deibler, 423 Md. 54, 61, 31 A.3d 191, 195
(2011), quoting in turn Howard County Assoc. for Retarded Citizens, Inc. v. Walls, 288 Md.
13 A “compensable injury,” for workers’ compensation purposes, is defined as an
injury “for which the employee is statutorily entitled to receive compensation.” Black’s Law
Dictionary 856 (9th ed. 2009).
12
526, 531, 418 A.2d 1210, 1214 (1980). The Act is remedial in nature and must be interpreted
as such, “‘in order to effectuate its benevolent purposes.’” Deibler, 423 Md. at 61, 31 A.3d
at 195, quoting Design Kitchen & Baths v. Lagos, 388 Md. 718, 724, 882 A.2d 817, 821
(2005), quoting in turn Harris v. Board of Education of Howard County, 375 Md. 21, 57, 825
A.2d 365, 387 (2003); see Section 9-102(a) of the Labor and Employment Article (“This title
shall be construed to carry out its general purpose.”).
Section 9-501(a) of the Labor and Employment Article, in pertinent part, provides that
“each employer of a covered employee shall provide compensation in accordance with this
title to . . . the covered employee for an accidental personal injury sustained by the covered
employee”. Accidental personal injury is defined in Section 9-101(b)(14 1) of the Labor and
Employment Article as that which “arises out of and in the course of employment”.
14 Section 9-501 of the Labor and Employment Article, provides:
(a) In general. — Except as otherwise provided, each employer
of a covered employee shall provide compensation in
accordance with this title to:
(1) the covered employee for an accidental personal injury
sustained by the covered employee; or
(2) the dependents of the covered employee for death of the
covered employee:
(i) resulting from an accidental personal injury sustained by the
covered employee; and
(ii) occurring within 7 years after the date of the accidental
personal injury.
(b) Employer liable regardless of fault. — An employer is liable
to provide compensation in accordance with subsection (a) of
this section, regardless of fault as to a cause of the accidental
personal injury.
13
“Arises out of” relates to the causal connection between the employment and the
injury. Livering v. Richardson’s Restaurant, 374 Md. 566, 574, 823 A.2d 687, 692 (2003).
“In the course of” refers to the “time, place, and circumstances of the accident in relation to
the employment.” Montgomery County v. Wade, 345 Md. 1, 11, 690 A.2d 990, 995 (1997).
Under the “positional-risk” test, as adopted in Mulready v. University Research Corp.,
360 Md. 51, 66, 756 A.2d 575, 583 (2000) and refined in Livering, 374 Md. at 575, 823 A.2d
at 692-93, the inquiry is whether the injury would have been sustained, “but for” the fact that
the conditions and obligations of employment placed the employee where the injury
occurred:
The positional-risk test is essentially a “but for” test. Professor
Larson succinctly states the test as follows: “An injury arises out
of the employment if it would not have occurred but for the fact
that the conditions and obligations of the employment placed [the employee] in the position where he [or she] was injured.”
A. Larson, Workers’ Compensation Law § 3.05 (2002); see also
J.D. Ingram, The Meaning of “Arising Out of” Employment in
Illinois Workers’ Compensation Law, 29 J. Marshall L.Rev. 153,
158 (1995) (noting that under the positional-risk test “an injury
is compensable if it would not have happened ‘but for’ the fact
that the conditions or obligations of the employment put the
claimant in the position where he was injured”).
Livering, 374 Md. at 575, 823 A.2d at 692 (alterations and emphasis in original).
The positional-risk test is adduced generally in the situation where an employee is
injured while engaging in activities incidental to employment. See 2 Modern Workers
Compensation § 114:10 (1993) (“If the injury does not have an inherent connection with the
employment, the positional risk or but for test is applied to determine whether a sufficient
14
nexus exists between the injury and the employment such that the injury is deemed to have
arisen out of the employment.” (footnote omitted)).
In Mulready, for example, we concluded that an allegation of injury to a traveling
employee caused by a slip and fall in a hotel bathroom while attending a seminar in Canada,
at the behest of her employer, arose out of her employment, because “but for” the travel
required by her employer she would not have been injured. In Livering, the positional-risk
test covered the situation in which an employee, enjoying a day off, visited the restaurant at
which she was employed and was injured after checking her work schedule, because she
“would not have been injured but for the fact that she visited the restaurant to confirm her
schedule.” Livering, 374 Md. at 580, 823 A.2d at 695.
In the present case, Mr. Roberts argues that “but for” his participation in employerencouraged
physical exercise at Friendly High School and gathering up his work mail at Fire
Station 19, with the employer’s acquiescence, he would not have been traveling between the
two sites when he was injured. The County, however, disagrees and posits that the going and
coming rule defeats compensability, because Mr. Roberts was not at his work site until he
reached Headquarters, even though, it concedes that any injury sustained during physical
training at Friendly High School would have been covered by the Workers’ Compensation
Act, equating those premises to a work site.
The going and coming rule provides that injuries sustained by employees commuting
to and from a fixed site of employment, “are generally not considered to arise out of and in
15
the course of employment and are, therefore, not compensable under the Act.” Morris v.
Board of Education of Prince George’s County, 339 Md. 374, 379, 663 A.2d 578, 582
(1995), citing Alitalia, 329 Md. at 44, 617 A.2d at 573-74; see Salomon v. State, 250 Md.
150, 154, 242 A.2d 126, 129 (1968) (claimant “was simply going to her place of
employment”); Tavel v. Bechtel Corp., 242 Md. 299, 301, 219 A.2d 43, 44 (1966) (claimant
“injured on a public highway while driving in his own car from his home to his place of
employment”). The rule is premised on the idea that compensation in such situations is not
warranted, because “‘getting to work is considered to be an employee’s own responsibility
and ordinarily does not involve advancing the employer’s interests.’” Board of County
Commissioners for Frederick County v. Vache, 349 Md. 526, 531-32, 709 A.2d 155, 158
(1998), quoting Morris, 339 Md. at 380, 663 A.2d at 580, citing in turn Oaks v. Connors, 339
Md. 24, 660 A.2d 423 (1995).
The rub, then, is whether the positional risk test holds sway or the going and coming
rule does. Although the County concedes that Mr. Roberts had been at Friendly High School
for a work-related purpose, because he was engaging in physical training encouraged by the
County, it asserts Fire Station 19 was not a work-related site; the work site it adopts, for the
purposes of the going and coming rule, is Headquarters.
We disagree with the County’s assertion that Fire Station 19 was not a work-related
site to which Mr. Roberts was traveling, because the mail he was picking up was that left for
him at the site and the practice of gathering the mail was one about which his supervisors
16
were aware. As a result, the County “acquiesced” in Mr. Roberts’s act of gathering the mail
at Fire Station 19. See Livering, 374 Md. at 580, 823 A.2d at 695. Acquiescence, we have
noted, is to “‘give an implied consent . . . to any act, by one’s mere silence, or without
express assent or acknowledgment.’” Osztreicher v. Juanteguy, 338 Md. 528, 534, 659 A.2d
1278, 1281 (1995), quoting Black’s Law Dictionary 22 (5th ed. 1979).
Mr. Roberts, thus, was en route from a work-related activity to a site where he was to
engage in a work-related act, to which the employer acquiesced. His travel, therefore, was
incidental to his employment. Travel incidental to employment cannot be excluded from
coverage by application of the going and coming rule. As a result, the 15 injury he sustained
is covered by the Workers’ Compensation Act, because “but for” his travel between work related
sites he would not have been injured.
In our analysis, we find succor in opinions of our sister states, such as Jones v. Xtreme
Pizza, 245 S.W.3d 670, 673-74 (Ark Ct. App. 2006) (“In the simplest terms, the going-and-coming
rule does not preclude an award of benefits here because this is not a going-and-coming
case. . . . Instead, Jones was where he was when the accident happened due to his
employment-related activities.” (citing Moncus v. Billingsley Logging & American Insurance
Co., 235 S.W.3d 877 (Ark. 2006)); Dade County School Board v. Polite, 495 So.2d 795, 797
15 Montgomery County, in this regard, argues that Mr. Roberts’s injuries are not
compensable under our decisions in Vache, 349 Md. at 532, 709 A.2d at 158 and
Montgomery County v. Wade, 345 Md. 1, 690 A.2d 990 (1997), in which we explored
exceptions to the going and coming rule articulated in footnote 11, supra. Neither case is
applicable in the present case, because the going and coming rule does not apply.
17
(Fl. Ct. App. 1986) (Physical education teacher’s injuries deemed compensable when
sustained while traveling from a school-sponsored track meet, which she was encouraged to
attend, to her home school, because she “was not off-duty away from the employer’s
premises at the time of the accident but en route between premises to perform her final duty
of the day.” (internal quotation marks omitted)); Caterpillar Tractor Co. v. Shook, 313
N.W.2d 503, 507 (Iowa 1981) (“Caterpillar claims . . . that compensation should be denied
under the ‘going and coming’ rule. Under the going and coming rule, compensation is
generally denied to an employee who is injured off the employer’s premises while going to
and from work. . . . The present situation is different. Shook was being paid by Caterpillar
for his time en route to the negotiations. His travel was incidental to his duties. The time,
place and activity were work-connected.” (citing Frost v. S.S. Kresge Co., 299 N.W.2d 646,
648 (Iowa 1980)); Spurgeon v. Blue Diamond Coal Co., 469 S.W.2d 550, 553 (Ky. 1971)
(“Careful analysis of the various decisions in which the ‘going and coming’ rule has been
considered discloses that an employee’s injuries sustained as the result of exposure to risks
of the streets or highways are covered by the compensation act if the exposure to the hazards
was the result of his work or if his employment was the reason for his presence at the place
of danger.”); Denny’s Restaurant v. Workmen’s Compensation Appeal Board, 597 A.2d
1241, 1244 (Pa. Cmwlth. Ct. 1991) (Employee injured en route between two restaurants
owned by the same employer was entitled to workers’ compensation, where he reported to
one restaurant after being called in by the employer and was told upon arrival to report to
18
another restaurant, although the court recognized that any injury that might have occurred if
he reported directly from home to the second restaurant “would be covered by the going-andcoming
rule and would not have been compensable.”); Toolin v. Aquidneck Island Medical
Resource, 668 A.2d 639, 641 (R.I. 1995) (“[W]e find a nexus between Toolin’s injuries and
her employment and therefore find that the going-and-coming rule does not operate to
preclude compensation in the instant case.”).
Accordingly, we conclude that Mr. Roberts’s injury arose out of and in the course of
his employment and is covered by the Workers’ Compensation Act.
JUDGMENT OF THE COURT OF SPECIAL
APPEALS VACATED; CASE REMANDED
TO THAT COURT WITH INSTRUCTIONS
TO VACATE THE JUDGMENT OF THE
CIRCUIT COURT FOR MONTGOMERY
COUNTY AND REMAND THE CASE TO
T H E C I R C U I T C O U R T W I T H
INSTRUCTIONS TO VACATE THE
DECI S ION OF THE WORKERS ’
COMPENSATION COMMISSION AND
R EMA N D THE C A S E TO TH E
C O M M I S S I O N F O R F U R T H E R
PROCEEDINGS CONSISTENT WITH THIS
OPINION. COSTS IN THIS COURT AND
THE COURT OF SPECIAL APPEALS TO
BE PAID BY MONTGOMERY COUNTY.

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