Accidental Personal Injury caused by Third Party need not ‘arise out of employment’

To be compensable under the Maryland Workers’ Compensation Act (“the Act”), the general rule is that an accidental personal injury must arise out of and in the course of employment.  However, according to § 9-101(b)(2) of the Labor and Employment (“L&E”) Article, “an injury caused by a willful or negligent act of a third person directed against a covered employee in the course of the employment of the covered employee” is also compensable under the Act.  Thus, unlike the general definition, an accidental personal injury caused by a third party need not “arise out of employment” in order to be compensable; rather, the injury must only occur during the course of one’s employment.

Included in the definition of “a third person” are the co-workers of a covered employee, as well as individuals wholly unrelated to the employment.  Notwithstanding that workers’ compensation is said to be the “exclusive remedy” for most employment-related disabilities, an injured employee may bring suit against a third party that is in addition to a claim for compensation against an employer.  This is commonly referred to as a third-party claim. See, e.g., Doe v.Buccini Pollin Group,Inc., 201 Md. App. 409, 425-27 (2011) (discussing Edgewood Nursing Home v. Maxwell, 282 Md. 422 (1978); Giant Food, Inc. v. Gooch, 245 Md. 160 (1967)).