Understanding Permanent Partial Disability

Understanding Permanent Partial Disability

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When it comes to workers’ compensation cases, there are many different types of injuries that workers can sustain and multiple types of benefits that they may be eligible for. However, according the to Maryland General Assembly, the most frequently tried cases are those concerning permanent partial disability claims brought by injured workers.

Permanent partial disability occurs when a worker permanently injures a body part. This may make a worker much slower in performing the duties required for their job, or may even render them completely unable to perform those duties. For example, if a worker injuries their shoulder, they may be limited in the amount of weight that they can lift over their head, or may be unable to perform tasks that require overhead lifting.

In this article, we will explain how permanent partial disability benefits are calculated in order for workers to understand what benefits they may be entitled to.

Calculating Permanent Partial Disability Benefits

Total Number of Compensable Weeks

The Maryland Workers’ Compensation Commission establishes the total number of compensable weeks for permanent injures, as outlined in the Annotated Code of Maryland:

Appendage Compensable Weeks
Thumb 100 weeks
1st finger (index finger) 40 weeks
2nd finger 35 weeks
3rd finger 30 weeks
4th finger (little finger) 25 weeks
Great toe (big toe) 40 weeks
Other toes (only one, further guidelines for loss of multiple other toes) 10 weeks
Hand 250 weeks
Arm 300 weeks
Foot 250 weeks
Leg 300 weeks
Eye 250 weeks
Loss of hearing, 1 ear 125 weeks
Loss of hearing, both ears 250 weeks

It’s important to note that this table is not a comprehensive guide to determining the total number of compensable weeks for workplace injuries in Maryland. There are legal stipulations in place depending on if the appendage is amputated or is still intact, but can no longer function, and so on. Additionally, there is a separate process for the Workers’ Compensation Commission to follow if the injured body part is not specifically listed in the Annotated Code of Maryland.

Tiered Benefits

In addition to determining the total number of compensable weeks, the tier of injury for which the worker will receive benefits must be determined. The tiers are determined by total number of compensable weeks, and specify the percentage of the worker’s average weekly wage that will be paid by and employer or insurer. Each tier includes a limit on how much a worker may receive, dependent upon the percentage of the State average weekly wage, as outlined in the Annotated Code of Maryland:

First Tier: “If a covered employee is awarded compensation for less than 75 weeks, the employer or its insurer shall pay to the covered employee compensation that equals one-third of the average weekly wage of the covered employee but does not exceed…16.7% of the State average weekly wage.”

Second Tier: “If a covered employee is awarded compensation for a period equal to or greater than 75 weeks but less than 250 weeks, the employer or its insurer shall pay the covered employee weekly compensation that equals two-thirds of the average weekly wage of the covered employee but does not exceed one-third of the State average weekly wage.”

Third Tier: “If a covered employee is given an award or a combination of awards resulting from 1 accidental personal injury or occupational disease for 250 weeks or more…the Commission shall increase the award or awards by one-third the number of weeks in the award or awards, computed to the nearest whole number; and…the employer or its insurer shall pay the covered employee weekly compensation that equals two-thirds of the average weekly wage of the covered employee, but does not exceed 75% of the State average weekly wage.”

Final Determination of Benefits

In each case, the Workers’ Compensation Commission primarily takes into consideration the worker’s calculated average weekly wage, the total number of compensable weeks for their injury, and the benefit tier of the injury in order to make their final calculation. Additionally, Maryland has limits on the amount of attorney’s fees that may be collected by a worker’s legal counsel in cases of permanent partial disability, and those costs are deducted from the final benefit calculation.

As may be understood from this article, permanent partial disability cases are complex. With that, we recommend that workers pursuing such cases seek legal representation.

Contact the Pinder Plotkin Legal Team If You’ve Been Injured at Work

If you or a loved one has been injured while working, please get in touch with the legal team at Pinder Plotkin. Our office has tried hundreds of cases before the Workers’ Compensation Commission, and other firms frequently refer cases to us because they trust our knowledge and experience in fighting for our clients’ rights.

In addition, our fee policy ensures that you only pay fees and expenses if and when we achieve a recovery on your behalf. Please call us today at (410) 661-9440 or fill out our online contact form to receive a free consultation regarding your case.

The information provided in this website/blog is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.

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