Do public safety workers have any workers comp benefits? As an employee, you’re bound to suffer work injuries at some points, no matter the industry or sector you work in. These wounds can be from a work-related accident or repetitive tasks. You can also suffer work-related illnesses from exposure to hazardous chemicals and other toxic materials.
Those who work in the public safety sector are not exempt from work-related injuries or illnesses. As such, they are entitled to work comp benefits. In this article, our Maryland work comp lawyers take an in-depth look at the compensation benefits available to public safety workers. If you suffer an injury while performing your function as a public safety worker, contact a workers’ compensation attorney immediately.
Who Is a Public Safety Worker?
Before learning about the compensation benefits public safety workers get, the first thing to determine is who qualifies as a safety worker. A public safety worker is one whose job duties task them with maintaining public safety, which usually includes life and property. Under Maryland’s Labor and Employment Code Section 9-268, the following people come under the category of safety workers:
- Paramedics, firefighters, and firefighting instructors
- Police officers
- Volunteer firefighters
- A deputy sheriff for Allegany, Baltimore, Anne Arundel, Howard, Prince George, or Montgomery counties
- Prison officers
While these classes of officers are prone to workplace injuries, public safety workers are known to minimize the risks they face. Also, most safety workers fail to file work comp claims, especially for permanent partial disability. Know that it’s your right to get compensated for a work injury, and not filing on time would only worsen matters if the wound becomes aggravated later on.
What Work Comp Benefit Can You Get as a Public Safety Worker?
There are several benefits available to a public safety worker in Maryland. The most common ones include:
Temporary Total Disability Benefits (TTD)
TDD benefits make up for the time you missed work. This benefit comes under the purview of the Maryland Workers’ Compensation Commission (WCC), and it is not taxed. However, it is capped at two-thirds of the worker’s average weekly wage (AWW) and must not exceed 100% of the stated weekly average wage. You will continue to receive this benefit until you can return to work.
As a general rule, work comp covers every work-related injury. This is because most healthcare providers do not accept third-party coverage for workplace wounds. However, if the healthcare provider accepts third-party insurance, the health insurance will foot the bill. If the health insurer pays for your treatment, they will file a claim against your employer’s workers comp insurance policy to get back the amount spent.
Permanent Partial Disability Benefits
This benefit often comes when an injured worker has already attained Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI). It means that the worker’s injuries have recovered to a certain extent and cannot get any better. In most cases, your employer and their insurer’s physician declares when a person has attained MMI.
Then they put the person on a disability rating to determine their AWW. The higher your disability rate, the more money you’ll get for compensation, vice-versa. Also, the yearly compensable weeks released by the WCC determine how much payment you’ll get.
The employer calculates the number of compensable weeks times the disability rating. For instance, if you get a 10% PPD rating and the compensable weeks is 100, it will be 100 x 0.10 = 10 weeks. Again, a Maryland work comp lawyer can explain this in better detail to you.
Finally, you can also get temporary partial disability benefits and permanent total disability benefits if the case fits. There are also death benefits for surviving dependents, but the three discussed above are the most common.
Can Public Safety Workers Get Compensation for Hypertension and Heart Disease?
Hypertension and heart disease are two illnesses common among public safety workers. For this reason, the Workers’ Compensation Act (WCA) makes it compensable for law enforcement officers, firefighters, and paramedics. An employer who wishes to contest it has the burden to prove that the illness is not work-related. If the employer disputes the ailment, it’s best to get a workers’ comp attorney to help you prove your claim.
Let Our Workers’ Comp Attorneys at Pinder Plotkin, LLC Help You!
Are you a public safety worker with a work-related injury? Has your employer refused to cover your medical bills and pay your wages? If yes, our work comp lawyers at Pinder Plotkin, LLC, will help you get the compensation you deserve. We have helped several Maryland residents get millions in settlement and can do the same for you. Call us today for a free case review with one of our attorneys.