Maryland’s workers’ compensation system provides a mechanism for ensuring employees get benefits when they suffer on-the-job injuries. Not being able to work means losing out on wages and the lack of income can be disastrous for families. Workers’ comp helps to relieve some of the burden. Workers get benefits relatively quickly without having to prove their employer was at fault or file a personal injury lawsuit. There are many types of benefits available for injured workers, one of which is permanent partial disability. If you’re interested in learning more about disability in Maryland, keep reading.
Permanent Total Disability vs Permanent Partial Disability in Maryland
When an injured employee files a claim for disability benefits, they will typically be considered temporarily disabled. They will undergo the necessary treatment which may be for a short period or for a longer time. Eventually, the individual will reach what their doctor considers maximum medical improvement. This is when they have recovered as much as they will, and they are no longer under the doctor’s care.
At this point, if the worker has permanently injured a part of their body, they will be considered permanently partially disabled. This doesn’t mean that they are disabled in the traditional sense of the word. However, they may be less able or unable to carry out their previous work functions. The affected body parts may include:
Injured employees usually receive a minimum of $50 per week for permanent partial disability in Maryland. However, if their average weekly wage was under $50, they get the equivalent of their average weekly wage. The duration of benefits depends on the part of the body that was injured. The loss of a thumb or the use of a thumb results in 100 weeks of payments. However, the loss of a hand or an eye results in 250 weeks of benefits.
In more serious cases, employees suffer permanent total disability. They will likely be unable to return to their previous duties and may not be able to do any type of work at all. In Maryland, a worker is considered to have a permanent and total disability if they lose the ability to use both:
Losing the use of any two of these body parts is also deemed a permanent total disability. For example, a worker who loses the use of one foot and one hand will be entitled to permanent total disability benefits. Depending on the body parts affected, the compensable weeks vary. These employees are usually entitled to compensation amounting two-thirds of their average weekly wage.
Things to Keep in Mind When Filing a Workers’ Comp Claim in Maryland
It’s easy to get complacent where workers’ comp claims are concerned. Because the system is designed to help you, you may assume that things will automatically go in your favor. However, as with insurance claims, you need to keep your wits about you. You also need to seek legal advice to ensure your rights are protected throughout the process. There are a number of things a Maryland workers’ comp lawyer will assist you with. You should, therefore, contact one as soon as possible after you suffer an injury.
It’s your responsibility to make sure that your employer is notified that you sustained an injury. You also need to make sure that you file your claim with the Maryland Workers’ Compensation Commission by the specified deadline. Even if you have completed the first report of injury form, you still need to file the claim within the statutory deadlines. If you take too long, you may not be able to get compensation.
In addition, you need to know the difference between filing a claim with your employer’s insurance company and filing a claim with the Commission. Not all employers pass on the information to the authorities or they may not do it in a timely manner. If they filed a first report of injury with their insurer, the insurance company may start the claim with the Commission. However, this doesn’t always happen, so you need to check.
Even if you have a good relationship with your employer, you shouldn’t assume they will look out for you now. In any case, their insurer will decide whether your claim will be accepted or not. They will also have an attorney advising them. If you want to ensure your rights are protected and all the necessary procedures are followed, you need to get your own legal counsel.
Let Pinder Plotkin LLC Help You with Your Workers’ Comp Case
Workers’ compensation claims can be quite complex, especially when they involve serious injuries. Contact our Maryland workers’ compensation law firm today to get sound legal advice. Book your first consultation today.