If you or someone you know has been injured in a workplace accident or developed an illness related to the job, compensation is waiting. Due to the complexity of these cases, though, it’s difficult to put an exact time frame on how long you can stay on workers’ compensation and how much in benefits you’ll receive. It can be a daunting and stressful ordeal, especially in the immediate aftermath of an injury or illness, but our team of experienced Baltimore workers’ compensation lawyers is here to help.
How Do You Qualify for Workers’ Compensation?
According to the Maryland Workers’ Compensation Commission (WCC), workers’ compensation only applies to employees who have accidental personal injuries or occupational diseases or illnesses while working. An accidental injury is one that happens by chance and unexpectedly, while an occupational disease or illness is caused by prolonged exposure to chemicals or other environmental things, such as asbestos.
Sometimes, it can be difficult to fully determine if an injury or illness is covered by workers’ compensation insurance. All claims are fully investigated before an official determination is made, which is why hiring a lawyer is important. Your lawyer will make sure all your paperwork is in order to prove that your claim is valid so that you can receive the benefits owed to you.
Types of Workers’ Compensation Benefits
When you file for workers’ compensation and your claim is approved, you could receive any of the following types of benefits, depending on the exact nature and severity of your injury:
- Temporary Partial Disability (TPD) Benefits: This is one of the most common types of disability benefits when an injury is only temporary and the injured employee can only work in a limited or part-time capacity. An injured employee may be entitled to these benefits only during the recovery process from their injury, with the intention of continuing to work during this process. During this time of limited or part-time work duties, the employee receives up to 50% less compensation for their work.
- Temporary Total Disability (TTD) Benefits: Commonly referred to as the “healing period,” this type of disability is when an employee’s injury prevents them from returning to work at all until they have recovered completely. That is, they are considered completely disabled for all work purposes but only for a limited time. The employer or their insurer pays the injured employee two-thirds of their average weekly wage up to the point where the employee is considered to be no longer totally disabled and can return to work part-time.
- Permanent Partial Disability (PPD) Benefits: Unlike temporary injuries, permanent partial disability means that, while there may be permanent damage or injury to an employee, the disability is only partial, and the employee may be able to continue working at some point after recovery or rehabilitation. Benefit payments for PPD vary in amount and length depending on the body part injured and the severity of the injury. For example, the total loss of a thumb results in benefit payments for 100 weeks.
- Permanent Total Disability (PTD) Benefits: In the state of Maryland, an injury is considered a permanent total disability when there is a loss of both arms, feet, eyes, hands, legs, or any combination of two of those. Payments for PTD are subject to annual cost of living adjustments and are sometimes reduced if the injured employee also qualifies for Federal Social Security Disability benefits.
- Medical/Hospitalization Benefits: The Workers’ Compensation Commission may require employers to cover medical or hospital costs for an injured employee in addition to other benefits. This can include hospital and nursing services, medical or surgical treatments, medicine, crutches or wheelchairs, and artificial or prosthetic limbs. These benefits or services may be indefinite as long as these services continue to be necessary for the injured employee.
- Wage Reimbursement Benefits: The employer or their insurer is required to reimburse an injured employee for any lost wages due to time spent at doctor’s offices and attending or traveling to and from Commission hearings. This benefit is paid out alongside any other benefit payments.
- Vocational Rehabilitation Benefits: If an injured employee is no longer able to perform job duties they were qualified for prior to their injury but is still able to work, the employee is entitled to vocational rehabilitation services. This means that the employer pays for the injured employee to train in a new job, and the training may last up to twenty-four months.
- Death and Funeral Benefits: In the event that someone dies in a workplace accident, death and funeral benefits are available for the dependents of the deceased employee. The amount awarded to the dependents varies but, in some cases, can be up to 66% of the deceased employee’s average weekly income.
As you can see, there are a wide variety of workers’ compensation benefits available to you, several of which you can receive simultaneously and some that you may receive indefinitely if your injury is deemed severe or permanent. Knowing which benefits apply to you and your case can be confusing, but your lawyer will help guide you through this process so that you can get the benefits you deserve.
How To Get Paid for Your Workers’ Compensation Claim
Most workers’ compensation claims have a short and strict time limit, so it is imperative to file your claim as soon as possible after your injury occurs. Once the Workers’ Compensation Commission processes your claim and determines your award amount, it’s up to your employer to make timely benefit payments to you.
If you’re injured at all while working, you can receive benefits, and if you have the misfortune of being severely or permanently injured, those benefits may have no set end time. If you or someone you know has been injured while on the job in Baltimore or anywhere in Maryland, we have lawyers ready to assist you with your claim. Reach out to our office today and let us help you during this difficult time.