When you get hurt on the job in Maryland, workers’ compensation benefits can cover the costs of medical expenses and lost wages until you recover and return to work. But if a work injury results in a permanent disability that partially impairs your ability to do your job, you could be entitled to longer-term benefits. These are called permanent partial disability (PPD) benefits.

For many workers, PPD benefits are a crucial lifeline to make ends meet after a workplace accident. However, qualifying for permanent partial disability benefits and securing the full compensation you are owed can be filled with obstacles. A workers’ compensation lawyer from Trollinger Law LLC can build a strong claim and negotiate for the results you deserve.

When Can You Seek Permanent Partial Disability Benefits?

Not everyone is eligible for permanent partial disability benefits after a workplace injury. To seek PPD benefits, you must meet the three following criteria:

  • You are a regular employee – Workers’ compensation laws only apply to qualifying employees who work for businesses required to provide workers’ comp coverage. In Maryland, most employers with one or more part-time or full-time employees must carry workers’ comp insurance for their employees. Independent contractors, sole proprietors, business partners, certain agricultural employees, and casual employees are typically not eligible.
  • You suffered a work-related injury – A work-related injury is any injury that occurs in the scope and course of your employment. The majority of work-related injuries happen in the workplace. However, injuries at other locations can qualify for workers’ comp as long as the employee was performing a work-related task at the time of the accident.
  • Your injury resulted in a permanent partial disability – Finally, you can only seek compensation for a permanent partial disability if your work-related injury leaves you with a disability that impairs your ability to do your job but does not entirely prevent you from working.

How to Qualify for Permanent Partial Disability (PPD)

To qualify for workers’ comp PPD benefits in Maryland, you need to take several specific steps, including:

  • Seeking prompt medical treatment – Getting medical care is crucial for both your long-term health and the success of your claim. Maryland law allows you to choose your doctor after a work-related injury. You can have your injuries diagnosed, treated, and added to your medical record by visiting the doctor. Be sure to follow your doctor’s care plan to maximize your recovery and show the insurance company you are taking your health seriously.
  • Reporting the injury to your employer – You must notify your employer of your work-related injury within 10 days to qualify for workers’ comp in Maryland. Keep a copy of the report for your records.
  • Gathering evidence of the accident or injury – Gather evidence for your claim by taking photos of the accident scene, requesting access to video footage, saving physical evidence like torn or bloody clothing, and asking eyewitnesses for statements. Keep track of crucial claim-related paperwork, such as medical bills, travel receipts, and pay stubs.
  • Filing a workers’ compensation claim – Next, you should file an official claim with the Workers’ Compensation Commission (WCC) within 60 days of the incident. Receiving a claim number from your employer’s insurance company is not the same thing as filing a claim with the WCC.
  • Reaching maximum medical improvement (MMI) – Before you can file for PPD benefits, your doctor must find that you have reached maximum medical improvement (MMI), or the point where no significant improvements in your condition are expected.
  • Getting a disability rating – Your doctor will assign you a disability rating after an examination. The insurance company will also have a doctor perform an independent medical examination (IME) and assign their own rating to your condition. These ratings will be reviewed in a hearing to determine the amount of your workers’ compensation payments.

How Do Insurers Calculate Permanent Partial Disability Benefits?

Calculating the amount and duration of your PPD benefits depends on your impairment rating and the body parts or functions that are affected by your disability.

Maryland workers’ comp law contains a schedule of different impairments and assigns a certain number of weeks you can be compensated based on your disability.

There are three tiers of permanent partial disability benefits in Maryland:

  • Awards of less than 75 weeks – You can receive one-third of your average weekly wage (AWW).
  • 75 to 249 weeks – Payments can be up to two-thirds of your AWW, not to exceed the statewide maximum average weekly wage.
  • 250 weeks or more (“serious disability”) – You can get two-thirds of your AWW, not to exceed 75 percent of the state average weekly wage.

To determine how long you can receive benefits, multiply your impairment rating by the maximum number of weeks scheduled for the loss of a certain body part or function. For instance, if the maximum duration of benefits for the total loss of an arm is 300 weeks and your arm is 50 percent impaired, you could be entitled to benefits for 150 weeks (50 percent of 300). Your benefits will stop once the time period expires.

Types of Injuries that Can Qualify for Permanent Partial Disability

Any work injury that results in a partial disability may qualify you for PPD benefits. Examples include:

  • Broken bones
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Back injuries
  • Nerve damage
  • Partial vision loss or permanent hearing loss
  • Partial paralysis
  • Minor amputations
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

Do Most Workers’ Comp Injuries Become PPD Claims?

According to the Social Security Administration, more than half of all workers’ comp cases are PPD claims. One multi-state study determined that more than 50 percent of all workers’ comp cases in which temporary disabilities persisted for at least seven days eventually became PPD cases.

Talk to a Maryland Workers’ Compensation Lawyer About Your PPD Claim

Qualifying for permanent partial disability benefits may not be a simple process, but you don’t have to face it alone. Let a workers’ compensation lawyer from Trollinger Law LLC help you.  We’ll provide dependable legal advice about what your benefit options may be and how much PPD settlement money you may get. Contact us for a free initial case review today.

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