Everyone seems to know something about workers compensation benefits – it’s the rare person who knows everything. Here’s a quick refresher on what is covered under Maryland’s Workers Compensation Act:
Temporary total disability benefits
If an injury results in a disability that prevents an employee from returning to work while the injury heals, then the employee can receive benefits. If the disability lasts 14 days or less, then the payments start three days after the injury. If the disability lasts more than 14 days, then the payments start from the date of the injury. These payments equal 2/3rds of the employee’s average weekly wage at the time of the accident subject to a ceiling.
The payments are meant to offset lost income while healing. They end when the employee returns to work in some capacity or when a medical determination is made that the employee has reached maximum medical improvement.
If an injured worker has completed medical treatment, but still remains unable to return to the injured worker’s previous employment, the injured worker’s monetary benefits may continue under a job placement program called vocational rehabilitation.
Temporary partial disability benefits
If an injury results in a disability that only allows an employee to work on a limited or part-time basis, then the employee can receive benefits. The employee receives payment equal to 50 percent of the difference between the employee’s average weekly wage at the time of the accident and the gross weekly wage of the employee while working on the limited or part-time basis subject to a ceiling.
Permanent total disability benefits
When a worker has been injured to such an extent that he or she cannot work in any useful capacity, then the employee can receive lifetime benefits. In Maryland, the loss of use of any of these constitutes permanent total disability:
- Both arms
- Both legs
- Both hands
- Both feet
- Both eyes
- Any combination of two of arms, hands, feet, eyes or legs.
- Any other disability that renders the employee unable to work in any useful capacity
Payment is a maximum of two-thirds of the employee’s average weekly wage subject to a ceiling.
Permanent partial disability benefits
If an employee receives an injury that results in some permanent partial impairment to a body part, they can receive benefits. Benefits are paid in accordance with a schedule of injuries set in the Maryland Workers’ Compensation statute as determined by the Workers Compensation Commission. For example, loss of a thumb results in payments for 100 weeks while an injury to the thumb including pain, loss of motion, strength, etc, results in a finding of a percentage loss of the thumb is payable for a number of weeks as a percentage of the 100 weeks.
The amount of benefits is determined by the statute and are payable on a weekly basis other than a Full & Final Settlement of the claim which may be paid in a lump sum. Injured workers are also eligible for lifetime medical and hospitalization benefits (including prosthetic devices), wage reimbursement benefits (for time spent being examined by a physician at the request of the employer) and in some cases vocational rehabilitation benefits (including job placement).
The calculations and value of a permanently injured body part or medical condition can be complicated to understand to the casual observer. Additionally, obtaining and recognizing the necessary documentation to support a claim for any type of benefit can also be difficult and complicated when insurance carriers are seeking to limit their own costs to a Claim. As a result, it is critical that injured workers find proper representation to ensure they receive coverage and are protected after a work place accident.