When a Maryland worker is eligible for Workers’ Compensation, the nature of the particular work-related injury or illness determines the kind and amount of benefits allowed. Each state has its own laws that set out the benefit types and Maryland’s benefit scheme is particularly complex.
Because of that complexity, it is wise to seek legal advice from an experienced Workers’ Compensation lawyer to understand the details of the appropriate benefit award. Legal counsel will also assist in applications, appeals and other aspects of advocating for the client’s deserved Workers’ Compensation recovery.
Here is a simplified overview that introduces Maryland’s major Workers’ Compensation benefit types:
- Temporary total disability: These benefits are paid when the worker is completely unable to work for the time while he or she heals from the injury or illness. The amount is two-thirds of the person’s average weekly wage, with a minimum of $50 per week and capped at the annual average Maryland weekly wage.
- Temporary partial disability: These cover a period of healing for a person who can still work on a limited basis, so a portion of original wages can be earned. A formula is applied to calculate the amount of this benefit.
- Permanent total disability: These are paid when a worker is completely and permanently disabled. The determination may be based on a “scheduled loss injury” like the loss of (or loss of use of) particular body parts such as both eyes or both arms (or other specific body-part losses). A claimant may also be permanently and totally disabled from working based on injuries or illness not included as a scheduled loss. Calculation of these awards is very complex.
- Permanent partial disability: These reimburse a worker for permanent impairment that does not result in total disability. Determination and calculation is again complicated.
- Medical and hospitalization expenses: These also include medical equipment, medication, and prostheses.
- Vocational rehabilitation: Substantial supports are available when a covered employee cannot return to their previous work. Vocational benefits may include assessment, counseling, rehabilitation planning and more.
- Death benefits: In case of a work-related death, even if the death follows a period of illness or disability, certain surviving dependents may be eligible for death benefits. Funeral payment up to a certain level is also available.
This is an introduction to a complicated scheme of benefits which we will discuss in further detail.