What does Workers’ Compensation Cover in Maryland?
Workers’ compensation is a form of insurance that will compensate an employee for any injury that they sustain on the job. An employee’s injury must be directly related to the work that the employee was tasked to do in order to be compensated. In the State of Maryland, every employer who has one or more employees must carry workers’ compensation coverage by law.
What are the Benefits of Workers’ Compensation in Maryland?
Workers’ compensation is mainly used to compensate workers for lost wages. However, workers’ compensation will pay for all medical expenses that are relevant to your injury, and will compensate your family in the event of your death. There are four different kinds of income benefits that workers compensation provides, which are; Temporary Total Disability (TTD) benefits, Temporary Partial Disability (TPD) benefits, Permanent Total Disability (PTD) benefits, and Permanent Partial Disability (PPD) benefits.
- Temporary Total Disability (TTD)
TTD benefits are used when an injured employee cannot return to work because of his or her injury. TTD payments are equal to two-thirds (generally) of your average weekly wage before you were injured. However, this payment cannot exceed two-thirds of Maryland’s state average weekly wage, no matter what your wage was before your injury. You will receive TTD benefits until you are ready to return to work. Additionally, if your injury leaves you disabled for less than 14 days, you will not be compensated for the first three days after your injury.
- Temporary Partial Disability (TPD)
TPD benefits are used when an employee is limited in the work that he can do and has a lower average weekly wage as a result. TPD payments are calculated by subtracting your average weekly wage after the injury, from your weekly wage from before your injury. TPD payments will be 50 percent of the remaining number. TTD payment will last until you have recovered from your injuries.
- Permanent Total Disability (PTD)
An employee may be injured to the extent that he cannot return to work because of a total and permanent disability. The Workers’ Compensation Commission (WCC) will presume that you have a total and permanent disability if you lose the use of:
- Both hands
- Both feet
- Both arms
- Both legs
- Both eyes
- The loss of use of any one or more combination of the above list
PTD payments are equal to two-thirds of your average weekly wage before your injury. You can receive PTD benefits for the rest of your life or until you are no longer permanently and totally disabled.
- Permanent Partial Disability (PPD)
PPD benefits are meant to help employees that are permanently disabled, but can still do limited work. Payments and the number of weeks that PPD will cover depends on what part of your body has been injured and to what extent. Maryland’s Workers’ Compensation Law has listed maximum amounts of compensable weeks for each part of the body, which are:
- Thumb : 100 weeks
- Fingers : 25-40 weeks
- Big toe : 40 weeks
- Other toes : 10 weeks
- Hand : 250 weeks
- Arm : 300 weeks
- Foot : 250 weeks
- Leg : 300 weeks
- Eye : 250 weeks
- Hearing : 150 weeks per ear
- Other cases (head, spine) : 500 weeks
If you doctor finds that a part of your body has sustained 100 percent damage, you will receive the full amount of weeks allocated by Maryland’s statutes. The amount of cash you can receive for PPD benefits depends on how many weeks you will be compensated. The number of compensable weeks that you have multiplied by the average weekly wage that you had before your injury will calculate how much you will be paid. However, you cannot exceed the State’s average weekly wage by; one-third if you have less than 75 weeks, one-half if you have 75-249 weeks, or three-fourths if you have 250 weeks or more.
How do I File a Workers’ Compensation Claim in Maryland?
If you are injured on the job, the first thing that you should do is inform your employer. Make sure to inform your employer about your injury in writing, this will provide evidence of that you alerted your employer for your case. The second step is to file a claim with the Workers’ Compensation Commission (WCC). This step could be complicated, as there are many legal aspects that require legal experience and knowledge to fully comprehend. It would be wise to retain a Maryland workers’ compensation lawyer to walk you through the steps, and to smooth out any problems that may occur.
Once your claim has been filed, you should be able to visit a doctor who will assess your injuries and provide treatment. This is also where important documentation will be created, so make sure to hang on to any bills or other information. Tell your medical provider that you sustained your injuries at work to reinforce your claim. If your employer’s insurance carrier doesn’t have any objections, you can start receiving income and medical benefits in a couple of weeks. It’s important to note that you will only have three years to file a workers’ compensation claim from the date of injury, or from when you discovered (or should have known about) your injury. Starting the claims process early on is imperative to having a strong case.
What Should I Do if my Employer Challenges the Claim?
If you do not receive payments, your employer’s insurance company rejects your claim, or if you believe that your compensation isn’t enough, retain a workers’ compensation lawyer. You have the legal right to represent yourself in a Maryland workers comp claim, but it’s not a very good idea. After all, the carrier that is challenging your claim will have a lawyer.
Workers’ compensation lawyers are paid on contingency, and will not charge you anything in advance. An experienced workers’ compensation lawyer will have the skills and knowledge to help you get fair compensation.