Worker’s Compensation Disability Qualifications

Work injuries come in all shapes and sizes. You could be laid up in bed for weeks, or able to perform light tasks and office work within a week of treatment. When determining what amount of worker’s compensation you should be receiving, it is important that you factor in your disability qualification as well as your physical and mental health.

Despite your best efforts to be safe at work, injuries do occur. If your job involves physical labor, your chances of sustaining a workplace injury will be higher than if you worked in an office setting. Because minor and temporary workplace injuries are more common, individuals who are injured at work are more likely to fall into several disability qualifications throughout their recovery. As each qualification is allotted a different commensurate compensation, it is important to understand the variations between them, and what these variations could mean for those who collect worker’s compensation as a result.

In Maryland, there are four different categories of disability resulting from workplace injuries:

Temporary Total Disability. You receive this benefit  when you are going through the recovery process after sustaining an injury at work that prevents you perform you from  working.   If you are unable to work for TWO FULL WEEKS OR LESS you will receive compensation for each day after the first three days following the injury. Injuries that require MEDICALLY AUTHORIZED ABSENCES OF LONGER THAN TWO WEEKS,  will result in the full payment of benefits for the entire period of the authorized period.  The amount of your benefits are controlled by State Workers’ Comp law, but basically are two-thirds of your weekly wage up to a maximum determined by the  State each calendar year. WORKERS’ COMPENSATION BENEFITS ARE TAX FREE, so that the two thirds you get is closer to the net pay you would have earned if you were working.

AS LONG AS YOU HAVE A MEDICALLY APPROVED ABSENCE THERE IS NO TIME LIMIT ON TEMPORARY TOTAL DISABILITY.  I have seen cases where Temporary Total Disability can last for weeks, months or even years, although it is unusual for Temporary Total Disability to last more than a year.  That is the reason it is called TEMPORARY and TOTAL disability.

Temporary Partial Disability. This disability classification also applies during a healing period, but unlike temporary total disability, it applies when you can perform a portion of your job. This  benefit is available if the doctor tells you that you can only return to work on a part-time basis, if the Employer only has part-time hours for work with your limitation or if your LIGHT DUTY is only available at a lower paying position.  Worker’s compensation laws require that you be compensated for up to half of your lost earnings.   In other words, the Workers’ Compensation Insurance Company should be paying you the difference between the amount you receive from the Employer on light duty and the amount you would receive if you were receiving Temporary Total Disability.

Permanent Total Disability. If you are injured so severely at work that it is impossible to return to ANY job, you may qualify for permanent total disability  . The Employer will have the right to try to help you find another job, even with a different business, or, if appropriate to retrain you, at the Insurance Company’s cost.   While you are in job search or Vocational Rehabilitation, the Insurance Company has to pay you the same amount as if you were on Temporary Partial Disability benefits.

IF NO WORK IS AVAILABLE FOR YOU DUE TO THE SEVERITY OF YOUR INJURIES, YOU ARE ENTITLED TO PERMANENT TOTAL DISABILITY, which will be the same benefits as your Temporary Total Disability.  However, you entitled to a annual cost of living increase as determined by the State of Maryland.  This increase cannot exceed 5% a year.

Permanent Partial Disability. If you are injured at work, and are able to go back to work, but  have permanent pain or limitations as a result of your injury you are entitled to Permanent Partial Disability.. This qualification could be considered the most complex to compensate for, as the amount of compensation and the compensation schedule are determined based on the type of injury and body part injured. Once the determined number of payments allotted by individual statute have been fulfilled, no further payments are made to the injured party.  The amount of your PERMANENT PARTIAL DISABILITY AWARD WILL BE BASED ON A NUMBER OF FACTORS INCLUDING EVALUATIONS BY DOCTORS, THE NATURE OF YOUR WORK, YOUR PAY AND THE PERMANENT DIFFICULTIES FROM YOUR ACCIDENT

It should be noted that each disability qualification involves a different evaluation process for determining compensation. Each workplace injury is unique, and the amount of  compensation is determined in an individual basis. Because of the complex nature of worker’s compensation, it is important to work with an experienced attorney to ensure that your rights as a worker are preserved and protected.

FOR THE AMOUNT OF BENEFITS BASED ON THE YEAR OF YOUR INJURY, SEE THE FOLLOWING WEBPAGE FROM THE MARYLAND WORKERS’ COMPENSATION COMMISSION WEBSITE- pick the year of your accident under the heading-   Maryland Workers’ Compensation Commission Maximum Rate of Benefits


If you have questions about your rights as a worker or the nuances of worker’s compensation in Maryland, contact experienced attorney Jeffrey Scholnick today.

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