Workers' Compensation Benefits in Maryland
When you are injured or suffer an illness on the job, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. Workers’ compensation benefits can provide an injured worker with different types of compensation, including medical expenses, wage replacement, and job retraining.
Below are some benefits that may be available through workers’ compensation.
When your employer or their insurer accepts responsibility for your work-related illness or injury, they are responsible for reimbursing you for your medical expenses incurred to treat your work-related injury or illness.
Examples of medical expenses include:
- Hospital and urgent care center bills
- Orthopedic care
- Physical and occupational therapy
- Pain management consultation
- Prescription medication
- Durable medical equipment such as braces or crutches
Medical expense benefits are available indefinitely until an injured worked is deemed to have reached maximum medical improvement.
In addition to reimbursement of medical expenses, your employer is also responsible for reimbursing you for your time and travel costs to and from your treatment appointments at the state-set mileage rate.
In addition to other wage-replacement benefits, an employer may also be liable to reimburse a worker for time they must spend attending a medical examination requested by the employer or its workers’ compensation insurer, and for time spent attending and traveling to and from Workers’ Compensation Commission hearings scheduled following a continuance caused by the employer or its workers’ compensation insurer.
If your injuries are permanent and severe enough to prevent you from being physically capable of performing your job duties, your employer may be responsible to pay for vocational rehabilitation.
Vocational rehabilitation involves job retraining and job counseling and placement from a state-certified job counselor who can help you find other jobs that fits within the restrictions placed on you by your injuries. Vocational rehabilitation is often the most important workers’ compensation benefit available when your injuries permanently prohibit you from returning to your old job.
Temporary Partial Disability
Workers’ compensation primarily affords injured workers benefits in the form of wage replacement if an injured worker is unable to work due to workplace injuries or illness.
The first category of disability benefits are temporary partial disability benefits. These benefits are awarded during an injured worker’s “healing period” when a worker is not totally disabled from returning to work but instead can perform limited or part-time duties. Temporary partial disability benefits provide an injured worker with 50% of the difference between the worker’s average weekly wage and the wage-earning capacity of the worker in the same or other employment, capped at a maximum of 50% of the state average weekly wage.
Temporary Total Disability
Temporary total disability benefits are paid during an injured worker’s healing period when they are incapable of performing even limited or part-time work. Temporary total disability benefits are equal to two-thirds of the injured worker’s average weekly wage, capped at the average Maryland weekly wage, which is calculated each year by the Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation. In no event can temporary total disability benefits be less than $50 per week regardless of the injured worker’s actual average weekly wage.
Permanent Partial Disability
Permanent partial disability benefits are awarded when a worker suffers an injury that results in a permanent disability that does not completely disable the worker from participating in the workforce. These benefits are intended to compensate the worker for the fact that they have a different or lessened body function. Permanent partial disability benefits are equal to two-thirds of the average weekly wage of the injured employee, capped at a maximum equal to the state average weekly wage. Permanent partial disability benefits are usually no less than $50 per week, unless the injured worker’s average weekly wage was less than $50.
Despite being called “permanent,” permanent partial disability benefits are only paid for a period of time specific to the particular disability suffered by the injured worker, according to a table set forth by the state. For example, the total loss of a thumb or loss of use of a thumb results in permanent partial disability benefit payments of 100 weeks.
Permanent Total Disability
Permanent total disability benefits are equal to the weekly benefit payment afforded for permanent partial disability benefits. However, permanent total disability benefits are permanent in nature because the injured worker is deemed to be permanently, completely disabled from rejoining the workforce.
Certain kinds of injuries are presumptively deemed to constitute permanent total disabilities, such as:
- Loss of or loss of the use of both hands
- Loss of or loss of the use of both arms
- Loss of or loss of the use of both eyes
- Loss of or loss of the use of both legs
- Loss of or loss of the use of both feet
- A combination of the loss of or loss of the use of at least two of: an eye, an arm, a hand, a leg, or a foot
Permanent total disability benefits are also subject to an annual cost of living adjustment not to exceed 5%, as set by the Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulations. Permanent total disability benefits can also be reduced to the extent that a worker is also entitled to receive Social Security disability benefits, so as not to cause a reduction of the worker’s federal benefits.
Death and Funeral Benefits
If a work accident or work-related illness or injury results in a worker’s death, their family and dependents may also be entitled to death and funeral benefits as part of workers’ compensation benefits.
These benefits can be as much as two-thirds of the worker’s average weekly wage, up to a maximum of $1,094, a figure that is gradually increased by the Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulations. Benefits are available for a minimum of five years up to a maximum of 12 years, but can be prematurely ended in certain circumstances, such as a widow’s/widower’s remarriage or a child’s emancipation.
Talk to a Maryland Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Now
If you have been injured on the job or become ill due to your work, Maryland workers’ compensation attorney Matt Trollinger can help. Contact Trollinger Law LLC today to learn about the forms of workers’ compensation benefits you may be entitled to and how we can help you pursue a claim for benefits.