Workers’ compensation in Maryland allows employees who have been injured on the job to receive benefits to help pay for their injuries. These benefits primarily include compensation for medical expenses and loss of wages relating to the workplace accident and injuries sustained.
However, no two workers’ compensation cases are the same, and thus there is no predetermined value for these cases. Instead, various factors will be taken into consideration when determining how much each workers’ compensation claim is worth. Such factors can include the severity of the injury, how long the employee will be unable to work while recovering, and how much money the employee made on average.
If you are injured on the job and need to claim workers’ compensation to help pay for your injury and lost wages, our team of Maryland workers’ compensation attorneys can assist you. At Zirkin & Schmerling Law, we know what it takes to help our clients file a claim and ensure they get the full amount of benefits they deserve.
Maryland Workers’ Compensation Claim Benefits
When you file a workers’ compensation claim, there are various benefits available to you that will ultimately determine how much money you will receive for your claim. Wage loss and medical benefits are the primary two, but there are also death and funeral benefits as well as vocational rehab benefits.
Wage Loss (Disability) Benefits
The first thing that will play a role in how much money you receive for your workers’ compensation claim is your injury and how it affects your ability to work. In other words, if you are injured and unable to return to work or unable to return full-time, you will receive what is known as disability benefits.
And these benefits are specifically meant to help cover the wages lost while you are recovering and unable to work. However, it’s important to note that disability benefits will not compensate you for the total amount of lost wages, but instead will provide you with a portion of your average wages earned before becoming injured.
- Temporary Total Disability Benefits (TTD): If you are unable to return to work while recovering but are expected to fully recover in the future, you will be eligible to receive TTD benefits. For TTD, you will receive ⅔ of your average weekly wages up to the state average weekly wage, which is $1,338 as of 2022.
- Temporary Partial Disability Benefits (TPD): If you can return to work in some capacity but cannot earn your normal wages due to temporary limitations, you will be eligible to receive TPD benefits. For TPD, you will receive 50% of the difference between your average weekly wages before the injury and your current earning capacity. The maximum allowed is up to 50% of the state average, so 50% of $1,388, or $694.
- Permanent Total Disability Benefits (PTD): If you are permanently disabled as a result of your injury and unable to return to work in any capacity, you will be eligible to receive PTD benefits. These benefits provide you with ⅔ of your average weekly wage subject to the state maximum for as long as you are permanently disabled, which could be for the rest of your life. You are considered permanently disabled if you have lost the use of both arms, hands, feet, legs, eyes, or any combination of these. Other injuries could also apply so long as it prevents you from performing any type of work.
- Permanent Partial Disability Benefits (PPD): If you are permanently impaired but are still able to work in some capacity, you will be eligible for PPD benefits. When your doctor determines you are permanently partially disabled, they will assign you a rating or a percentage based on your injury. The amount you receive will depend on that rating.
In Maryland, there is a list of injuries and the maximum weeks of compensation. The weeks listed combined with your PPD rating will determine how much you receive. For example, a leg injury can receive up to 300 weeks of compensation. So if your doctor determines that you have lost 50% of the use of your leg, you will receive benefits for 150 (50% of 300) weeks.
For injuries to body parts that are not listed, you will receive benefits for a percentage of 500 weeks based on your disability percentage rating. For example, if you have 20% use of your neck, you would receive benefits for 100 weeks (20% of 500).
Beyond determining your PPD rating and how many weeks you are eligible to receive PPD benefits, the amount awarded is calculated based on three different tiers:
- For benefits awarded under 75 weeks: ⅓ of your average weekly wages up to 16.7% of the state average.
- For benefits awarded for 75-249 weeks: ⅔ of your average weekly wages up to ⅓ of the state average.
- For benefits awarded for more than 250 weeks: ⅔ of your average weekly wages up to 75% of the state average. The total number of weeks for these serious injuries is also increased by ⅓.
In addition to wage loss disability benefits, workers’ compensation also helps cover the cost of medical expenses related to the workplace injury. This includes coverage of all necessary medical treatments and expenses, including:
- Medical treatments
- Hospital services
- Assistance devices (i.e., braces, crutches, etc.)
- Reimbursement for travel to medical appointments
Death & Funeral Benefits
If the injured employee dies as a result of their workplace injury, family members who were dependent on the deceased worker are entitled to receive death benefits. The dependents will receive weekly benefits at the TTD rate based on the percentage the deceased worker contributed.
For example, if the deceased worker contributed 50% of their income to support the family, the family will receive 50% of ⅔ of the deceased worker’s average weekly wage each week for up to 12 years. The payments will stop if the dependant remarries or when dependant children turn 18 (23 if full-time students).
Death benefits also pay up to $7,000 for reasonable funeral expenses for the deceased worker.
Vocational Rehab Benefits
If you sustain an injury that prevents you from returning to the work you are qualified for, but you are potentially able to perform other kinds of work, you could be eligible to receive benefits to cover vocational rehabilitation training. This would pay for you to learn how to become qualified for other types of work so you can still earn a living despite your injury.
Maryland Workers’ Compensation Settlements
After your workers’ compensation claim is valued based on the benefits above, you can decide to have your case settled. This means that instead of receiving weekly payments, you are asking for a lump sum payment all at once. While Maryland does allow injured workers to settle their workers’ compensation cases, it does mean you forfeit your right to receive additional benefits in the future if your situation changes.
While settling a workers’ compensation claim can provide you with more money upfront, it could result in less money down the road. So it’s important to discuss your options with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney. They can offer you guidance and support and help you determine your best course of action to ensure you get the full amount of benefits you deserve.
Have a Legal Question? We Have Answers.
If you are injured on the job and need help with your workers’ compensation case, the attorneys at Zirkin & Schmerling Law can help. In addition to filing workers’ compensation claims forms that can be confusing, you also need to fully understand how much money you are owed to ensure you are paid the full benefits you deserve, which can make things even more overwhelming.
Let us help you navigate the claims process and handle the hard work while you focus on rest and recovering from your workplace injury.
Contact us or call us at 410-753-4611 to set up an appointment with one of our workers’ compensation attorneys today.