Maryland Casino's & Your Workers' Compensation Coverage
With the recent opening of the Horseshoe Casino in downtown Baltimore, the gambling industry is quickly becoming one of the largest employers in the state of Maryland. The new MGM Casino is set to open in 2016 in Prince George's County and will join Maryland's existing casinos, including Maryland Live and the Casino at Ocean Downs, in an industry that is booming and looking for workers.
It takes an unbelievable amount of workers to keep large scale casinos operating. A casino needs dealers, security, cleaning staff, valets, cashiers, chefs, servers, cocktail waitresses, bartenders, emergency medical staff, groundskeepers, maintenance, you name it! Not to mention, management and human resources staff. With such a high volume of workers, some injuries on the job are inevitable. Consider security staff, who risk injury when dealing with fights and unruly patrons, or the variety of ways kitchen staff or maintenance workers could injure themselves on the job.
Most of the time, injuries on the job occur in one identifiable accident and the worker has no problem reporting the injury and obtaining benefits through workers compensation. A more complicated situation arises when the injury is actually an occupational disease that manifests over time.
For example, one of the toughest positions for a casino to fill is its dealers. These workers are must be highly skilled and are in high demand. Dealing cards may seem like a job with little risk of injury until you consider the repetitive hand and wrist movements involved, which can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome, a common occupational disease. Carpal tunnel syndrome can be a debilitating condition, causing numbness, pain, and tingling in the wrists and hands. It can also affect grip and manual dexterity. If you deal cards for a living, this condition could affect your ability to work significantly. It may also require medical treatment, such as physical therapy or even surgery.
Fortunately, carpal tunnel and other occupational diseases are compensable through workers compensation - but you must be careful to give timely notice to your employer, or else your claim could be denied. Notify your employer as soon as you notice any symptoms whatsoever, such as tingling in the wrists. Don't wait six months until you are no longer able to use your hands at all before you tell someone. If it's bothering you, tell your employer and get checked out by a doctor. If you are unsure what to do, call an attorney who can navigate the process for you, obtain benefits, and even get you set up with a doctor to get you the treatment you need.
If you are working for one of Maryland's casinos, be sure to check your contract to see if it classifies you as an employee or an independent contractor. If your contract classifies the casino as a client, and you as an independent contractor, it may also state that the casino is not required to carry workers compensation coverage for you. Always be aware of the contents of your contract so that you can take the steps you need to protect your health.
If you or a family member has been injured as a result of an accidental injury on the job and would like a free legal consultation or if you would like more information on work accidents, please feel free to contact our office at (855) 954-4141 or visit us on our website.