A key category of workers’ compensation benefits is disability. Under Maryland law, there are four kinds of disability benefits:
- Temporary partial disability benefits – These benefits are awarded and paid while a worker is recovering from a work-related injury but is still capable of performing limited or part-time duties and therefore is earning income at a reduced level. These benefits include compensation equal to half of the difference between the average weekly wage of the employee and the wage-earning capacity of the employee in the same or similar other employment. Benefits are capped at 50 percent of the state average weekly wage.
- Temporary total disability benefits – These benefits are awarded and paid while an employee is recovering from a work-related injury but is completely incapacitated and unable to perform any work for their employer. These benefits include compensation equal to two-thirds of the average weekly wage of the employee, with a cap at the state average weekly wage and a minimum of $50, regardless of the employee’s wages. These payments begin at three days after a work-related injury, unless the period of disability extends longer than 14 days, in which case benefits are paid from the date of injury.
- Permanent partial disability benefits – These benefits are awarded when an injured employee has reached maximum recovery but still has some partial permanent impairment that affects their ability to work. These benefits provide compensation for a period that lasts depending on the specific bodily function lost. For example, the loss of a thumb or the loss of use of a thumb provides 100 weeks of payments. Payments are equal to two-thirds of the employee’s average weekly wage, with a cap at the state average weekly wage and a minimum of $25.
- Permanent total disability benefits – These benefits are similar to permanent partial disability benefits. However, these are lasting benefits awarded when an employee is permanently, totally disabled from work, usually resulting from the loss or loss of use of both arms, both hands, both eyes, both legs, or both feet, or a combination of at least two of an arm, hand, foot, leg, or eye. These benefits are also subject to an annual cost-of-living adjustment not to exceed five percent but may be reduced by any Social Security disability benefits the employee receives.
In addition to disability benefits, an injured employee also receives reimbursement for all medical expenses incurred to treat the work-related injury, including:
- Hospital and nursing services
- Surgery and other treatments
- Prescription medication
- Durable medical equipment like crutches or walkers
An employee is also entitled to be paid their wages if they are asked to submit to a medical examination by their employer or its insurer or for time spent for Workers’ Compensation Commission hearings.
If an injured employee is disabled from performing work for which they were previously qualified, workers’ compensation benefits can also include up to 24 months of vocational rehabilitation services, including medical services, assessment, evaluation, counseling, training, and job development and placement.
If an employee’s workplace injury is fatal, their family may also be entitled to death benefits and funeral benefits.
How Long Does It Take to Receive Benefits in Maryland?
Ideally, if your employer accepts liability for your work-related injury, you can begin receiving workers’ compensation benefits for medical expenses immediately. Your employer or its workers’ compensation insurer can wait up to three days to pay you disability benefits if you are found to be entitled to them. If your disability lasts longer than 14 days you are entitled to disability benefits retroactive to the date of your injury.
If your employer denies coverage for your workplace injury, you will need to file a claim with the Maryland Workers’ Compensation Commission to seek benefits. Once you file a timely claim with the commission, they will contact your employer and give them a period in which to lodge an objection to your claim.
If your employer objects to your claim, the commission will assign your case for a hearing before a workers’ compensation commissioner. The commissioner will decide what benefits, if any, you are entitled to. If the commissioner denies your claim, you may request a rehearing within 15 days.
If the commissioner stands by its denial, you are entitled to appeal your decision to the courts.
If you must pursue your workers’ compensation claim before the Workers’ Compensation Commission and the courts, it can take weeks to receive benefits if the commissioner upholds your claim and months or more if you must pursue your claim in the courts.
When Do You Deserve More Than Workers’ Compensation?
Generally speaking, when you are injured on the job, workers’ compensation is your only way to get compensation for medical expenses and lost wages. However, when your injury was due to the negligence of someone other than you, your employer, or another person affiliated with your employer, you may be entitled to pursue a third-party personal injury claim.
For example, if you are injured in a car crash while performing work in the course and scope of your employment with your employer, you may be entitled to pursue recovery under the workers’ compensation law and in a lawsuit against the at-fault driver.
If you successfully recover compensation from a third party, your employer may be entitled to a credit for the net amount you recover from the benefits they are obligated to pay you. Your employer must still pay benefits due to you in excess of your net recovery from the at-fault third party.
Tips for Protecting Your Rights After an Injury at Work
If you have suffered an injury at work, there are steps you should take to protect your rights and ensure that your receipt of workers’ compensation benefits is not delayed.
You should promptly seek medical attention for your injuries, even if you aren’t feeling significant pain or other symptoms right after the incident. Prompt medical attention will allow you to have a full diagnosis of your injury and prognosis for recovery, which may be critical to establishing your entitlement to certain forms of workers’ compensation benefits.
You should immediately notify your employer of your injury through the standard procedures your employer has established for notification of work-related injuries and workers’ compensation claims. Delaying notification to your employer may cause them to deny your workers’ compensation claim, requiring you to file your claim with the Workers’ Compensation Commission and delaying your receipt of benefits.
If your employer does not promptly accept responsibility for your work-related injury, you should contact an experienced workers’ compensation attorney. You will need to file a claim with the Maryland Workers’ Compensation Commission within a specific deadline if you wish to contest your employer’s denial.
Can My Employer Fire Me for Filing for Workers’ Compensation?
If you are injured on the job, it is your right to pursue a workers’ compensation claim. Your employer cannot fire you in retaliation for your filing of a workers’ compensation claim.
However, just because you have filed a workers’ compensation claim does not mean your employer cannot terminate you. It just means they cannot fire you solely because you filed a workers’ compensation claim. Your employer is still entitled to fire you for cause, such as committing wrongdoing on the job or job performance that does not meet your employer’s expectations.
Your employer is also not required to retain you if your injury results in a disability that prevents you from performing your job (for example, if you are a construction worker and lose the use of an arm). Your employer is also not required to give you another position within their organization.
If you hear negative comments at work about your having filed for workers’ compensation and you are subsequently terminated, you may have a potential legal claim for retaliation.
We Fight for Injured Workers in Maryland
Our Charles County workers’ compensation attorney, Matt Trollinger, is ready to fight for workers who have been injured on the job in Charles County and throughout Maryland. We can help workers in all sorts of professions, such as:
- Restaurant staff
- Hospital staff
- Office workers
- Retail employees
No matter what industry you work in, if you have been injured on the job, our Charles County workers’ compensation lawyer can help you seek the workers’ compensation benefits you need and deserve.
Common Workplace Injuries
Many jobs, especially the most dangerous ones, can lead to all kinds of workplace injuries. Some workplace injuries are more common than others, including:
- Back and neck injuries
- Head injuries and traumatic brain injuries
- Knee injuries
- Traumatic amputation
- Loss of vision
- Loss of hearing
- Shoulder injuries
- Repetitive stress injuries
- Occupational illnesses, caused by exposure to diseases or hazardous or toxic chemicals and substances
How Our Charles County Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Can Help You
If your employer has denied coverage for your work-related injury, our Charles County workers’ compensation lawyer can help you pursue the benefits you need and deserve.
Attorney Matt Trollinger can collect and examine all the evidence to build a persuasive case that your injury is compensable under the workers’ compensation laws. The legal team at Trollinger Law LLC can first contact your employer and its workers’ compensation insurer to try to obtain a reconsideration of their denial of your claim.
If your employer and its insurer are adamant in their denial of liability, our attorney can file a claim on your behalf with the Workers’ Compensation Commission and persuasively and vigorously advocate on your behalf to establish that your injury is work-related and compensable. If necessary, Matt Trollinger will be prepared to take your claim to court to seek the benefits you deserve.
If your employer is not paying you the benefits you think you are entitled to under the law or is trying to terminate your benefits, claiming that you have fully recovered from your injury, our attorney can help you secure the medical evidence and testimony you need to establish your right to continued benefits.
When you are injured or contract an illness on the job or through the work you do, you should be entitled to compensation for your medical treatment, lost wages, and the services needed to get you back to gainful employment. If your employer denies the workers’ compensation benefits you believe you deserve, don’t wait another day to get legal help.
Contact Trollinger Law LLC today to schedule a free consultation to discuss your rights and options.