Basic Workers Compensation Scheme

There are many possible claims that can be made depending upon the facts of each case. They may include (a) disability payments; (b) medical treatment and expenses; (c) vocational rehabilitation. All disability payments in Workers Compensation cases are based upon your average weekly wage. The computation of your average weekly wage requires an examination of all of your benefits and can be a very complicated area to compute.

(a) Disability payments

There are four different types of disability payments.

Temporary Total Disability is a temporary payment made to the injured worker during the injured workers recovery period. These payments are usually made when the injured worker is unable to work and are made until the injured worker has reached maximum medical improvement. The rate of pay for temporary total disability is 2/3 of the claimant's average weekly wage not to exceed the maximum rate for that jurisdiction.

Temporary Partial Disability is a temporary payment made to the injured worker when the injured worker is able to return to work on a part-time basis but is still partially incapacitated. The injured worker is entitled to half of the difference between the average weekly wage before the injury and the average weekly wage after the accident not to exceed the maximum rate for that jurisdiction.

Permanent Partial Disability is a payment made to the injured worker for the permanent injury to the body of the injured worker from the accident. The amounts of permanent partial disability to be paid vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction depending upon the body part injured and the severity of the injury and can include payments for actual wage loss.

Permanent Total Disability is a payment made to the injured worker for the total disability created by the injury. These payments are paid for the entire time that the claimant is permanently totally disabled from work.

Death benefits for workers who die as a result of a work related accident can be paid to the surviving dependents of the deceased worker. There are specific requirements that will determine the amounts of money to be paid for death benefit cases. Please contact one of our experienced workers compensation attorneys to discuss the death benefits as they apply to Maryland and the District of Columbia .

(b) medical treatment and expenses

All related medical treatment should be paid for by the insurance company. The injured worker should not be responsible for a co-pay or other related medical charges. The injured worker should be reimbursed for mileage, prescriptions and other related medical charges.

(c) vocational rehabilitation

When an injured worker is unable to return to their pre injury job because of their disability from the accident, the injured worker may make a claim for vocational rehabilitation. The employer would be responsible for the costs of the rehabilitation whether including on the job training, job placement, vocational testing, resume and interview services and continuing payment of wages during the period that the claimant is in vocational rehabilitation.

Once it is determined that a claimant has a compensable claim, one of the benefits that the claimant may be entitled to is vocational rehabilitation. To be eligible for vocational rehabilitation the employee must have a disability that that does not allow the employee to perform their prior job. Thus, they must have restrictions on their return to their previous employment. Usually, when the parties agree that vocational rehabilitation is appropriate, or it is ordered by the Commission, a vocational assessment will be done. The vocational assessment will usually help the parties determine what path to take in the vocational rehabilitation program. After the assessment and evaluation is done, the parties will come up with a vocational rehabilitation plan. The vocational counselor will work with the injured worker and the attorney with development of the plan. The plan will include a plan for job placement, job development or vocational training. Some testing may be necessary to determine what type of job may be appropriate for the employee. The testing can include tests for IQ and physical capabilities. An FCE or functional capacity exam is usually performed to determine what the functional level of the employee is. The employee will be tested on lifting, walking, sitting and standing. These tests will help the vocational counselor determine what “suitable gainful employment” would be for this claimant. The main goal of vocational rehabilitation is to return the injured worker to suitable gainful employment. Currently, the parties must agree on a vocational counselor. If the parties cannot agree on a vocational counselor, a vocational dispute must be filed with the Maryland Workers Compensation Commission. If vocational rehabilitation is allowed or agreed to benefits should start. The benefits paid are identical to that of temporary total disability.

Compensation
  1. Average Weekly Wage

Almost all payments of compensation due under the workers compensation case will be dictated at least in part by the average weekly wage of the employee. Average weekly wage is determined by calculating the wages, tips and additional reasonable value of housing or rent, meals or other benefits. Fringe benefits are not included in the calculation of average weekly wage. The fringe benefits not included in the calculation would be pension benefits, insurance benefits. Careful scrutiny should be given to determining what if any additional benefits should be claim in computing the average weekly wage of the injured worker. The Commissioners have some latitude in amending the average weekly wage as the claim develops and more about the injury and effects of the injury are discovered.

  1. Employees having more than one job

As a general rule, in the State of Maryland injured workers are not permitted to “stack” wages from multiple jobs in determining their average weekly wage. In certain cases, an employee that is determined to be have a serious disability or permanent total disability can have their average weekly wage amended to reflect the higher average weekly wage of the two jobs.

In the District of Columbia, the employees can be permitted to “stack” wages in certain circumstances.

The legal information on this site is not intended to be legal advice. Contact one of our experienced workers compensation attorneys or lawyers today to get specific information and answers for your specific situation.

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