Injured workers in Maryland may be entitled to receive wage reimbursement, medical, disability and vocational rehabilitation benefits.
Work-related injuries can take a devastating financial toll, as many Baltimore residents know firsthand. According to a Department of Labor report, the average worker loses $31,000 in income during the decade after one of these injuries. Compounding the issue, many employees fail to seek the full amount of workers' compensation benefits that may be available to them. This makes it essential for workers in Maryland to understand the various types of benefits that they may be eligible for after a workplace injury.
If a worker's compensation claim is approved, an employer is required to cover various medical costs related to the injury or occupational disease, according to the Maryland Workers' Compensation Commission. These costs could include expenses for hospital treatment, surgical intervention, in-home care and physical therapy. Medical and hospitalization benefits also cover the costs of medicine, prostheses and devices such as crutches.
Workers who suffer temporary or irreversible disablement due to their injuries may qualify for disability benefits under the Maryland workers' compensation system. Workers may be eligible for one of the following four types of benefits:
- Temporary partial disability benefits, which provide assistance to workers who cannot work at full capacity while they are recovering. Employees may be entitled to receive up to half of the difference between their current and full earnings just prior to the injury.
- Temporary total disability benefits, which are available to workers who cannot work at all as they recover. These benefits may be worth up to two-thirds of a worker's average weekly wages.
- Permanent partial disability benefits, which help support workers who have suffered permanent injuries that don't preclude continued employment. Workers may receive an award of compensation depending on the nature and extend of permanent disability and their pre-injury wages.
Permanent total disability benefits, are available to workers who are permanently totally disabled from meaningful employment. Also certain scheduled losses of limbs or other body parts may entitle one to such disability.
The victims of workplace injuries may also be entitled to reimbursement of certain income that they lose due to their injuries. Employees who miss time from work while seeking medical care may be entitled to wage reimbursement. Employers also are required to reimburse any income that employees lose while attending an Employer/Insurer's medical examination.
Workers may be able to receive vocational rehabilitation benefits if they have lost the ability to perform their prior jobs as a result of their injuries. During vocational rehabilitation, workers may meet with a counselor to discuss their vocational experience, physical restrictions and other relevant factors. After workers and counselors agree to an official plan, workers can begin looking for a job. If job search is unsuccessful job training may be an option Workers may be able to receive benefits for up to 24 months of retraining.
Unfortunately, many injured workers overlook some of the benefits that they might be entitled to or struggle to show that they are eligible for those benefits. As a result, consulting with a workers' compensation attorney is often a beneficial starting point for people who have suffered serious injuries at work. An attorney may be able to help a worker understand his or her rights and ultimately put together a persuasive claim for benefits to which they are entitled under the Statute.