Permanent Partial Disability Benefits in Maryland
Maryland workers’ compensation laws are designed to protect the health and safety of employees. But workplace accidents still happen. When a job injury sidelines you, you are likely entitled to benefits to provide a financial cushion while you heal.
Many people who get hurt at work never fully recover from their injuries, making it impossible for them to return to their previous positions. These employees could be eligible for permanent partial disability benefits (PPD).
Permanent partial disability is the most common wage-loss benefit awarded through workers’ compensation. It provides injured workers a supplemental income if they can only work part-time or in a lower-paying role due to their job injury. However, just because PPD is common does not mean it is easy to secure disability benefits. Many applicants see their claims denied and face a lengthy appeals process when they need money most.
If you need help with a workers’ compensation claim, reach out to Trollinger Law LLC. Our experienced attorneys can assist with every aspect of the workers’ comp process. We’ll help you with the initial application for benefits, resolve disputes with the insurance company, negotiate for maximum compensation, and represent you during any appeals. Call or contact us today for a free consultation.
How to Get Permanent Partial Disability Benefits Through Workers’ Comp
If you face physical, cognitive, or emotional limitations following a work-related injury, you may be eligible for permanent partial disability even if you can return to work in some capacity. For example, if your doctor recommends that you work a limited number of hours per week or avoid heavy lifting, you may have to change to a lower-paying position.
PPD benefits can provide you with additional income if you can no longer earn the same amount as you did before your injury —depending on the type of injury, you could receive what is called “industrial loss”. These benefits will last a certain number of weeks based on the location of your injury and your degree of impairment.
Permanent Partial Disability Benefits: The First Steps
The first step to getting permanent partial disability benefits is filing a workers’ comp claim. You can do this online at the Maryland Workers’ Compensation Commission website.
Maryland allows injured workers to choose their own treating physician rather than seeing a doctor selected by their employer. Make sure to choose a doctor who accepts workers’ compensation insurance. Seeing a doctor and following their proposed treatment plan will create a paper trail that can serve as evidence of the severity of your injuries.
Continue medical treatment, preferably with the same provider, until they determine you have reached Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI). MMI is when the doctor decides additional treatment will not meaningfully improve your condition.
In Maryland, after you have reached MMI, an independent doctor (separate from your treating doctor) will assess whether your work-related injuries have left you with permanent disabilities. They do this by reviewing your medical records, hearing from you as to what continuing problems you have, performing a physical examination and applying the 4th edition of the American Medical Association’s Guides to Impairment. If they determine you have lasting impairments, you can take the next steps by applying for permanent partial or total disability benefits.
How Do Pre-Existing Conditions Affect Permanent Partial Disability Benefits?
Sometimes insurers and employers try to use pre-existing conditions as an excuse to deny a permanent partial disability claim. If your pre-existing condition was made worse due to a work-related injury, you are still eligible for PPD benefits. The law in Maryland does not allow an employer or insurer to completely bar your claim because a pre-existing condition is aggravated by a work injury.
However, the benefits are apportioned after taking the pre-existing injury into account.
Here’s an example: Imagine you had a previous back injury and must perform heavy lifting at work. If that job duty caused further damage, medical evidence can show how your work responsibilities worsened your back condition. You would be eligible for benefits based only on the extent of the new injury.
It can be challenging to prove that the work-related injury affected your condition, so it’s a good idea to consult a workers’ compensation attorney with experience resolving disputes with workers’ compensation insurers.
Receiving Permanent Partial Disability Benefit Payments
You may receive permanent partial disability payments on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. You may also be offered a lump-sum payment. These payments are not truly permanent. The duration will be limited based on the severity of your injury and other factors.
Discussing the risk and benefits of a lump-sum payment with a lawyer is wise before you accept it. Lump sums are often lower than the amount you would receive over time with weekly payments. But for some people, receiving the money upfront can be beneficial.
How Our Maryland Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Can Help You
Suffering a work-related injury is always stressful, especially if you do not make a full recovery. At Trollinger Law LLC, we want to relieve your concerns about the financial implications of the injury on your life. Let us help you pursue the permanent partial disability benefits you are entitled to.
Workers’ compensation theoretically guarantees no-fault benefits to employees in exchange for waiving their rights to sue their employers. But practically speaking, employers and their insurers are often reluctant to approve benefits and may fight a legitimate claim to avoid making payouts.
You have a lot at stake and don’t need to navigate the process alone. Our knowledgeable attorneys can anticipate the challenges to expect with your claim and gather the medical evidence required to build a strong case for permanent partial disability for you.
You deserve maximum PPD benefits with minimal stress. Trollinger Law LLC can help. Call or contact us today for a free case review.