One of the most perplexing things that an injured employee has to figure out is what type of workers' compensation he or she is due for an injury.
The answer depends largely on the type of injury that you have. It may also partially depend on what stage of healing you are in, since your situation may change as your condition improves.
Aside from medical care, reimbursement for lost wages and vocational benefits, an injured Maryland worker will also usually receive one of four types of payments:
- Temporary total
- Temporary partial
- Permanent partial
- Permanent total
Temporary total benefits are most commonly paid for a short period of time during the acute or "healing" phase after an injury. It's the period of time a worker isn't able to do any work because of his or her recent injuries.
Temporary partial payments acknowledge the reality that workers may come back to work part time before they're up to their usual full schedule. While they're working, their income will still suffer. These benefits are designed to cushion the financial blow until they can get back to their regular work schedule.
Permanent partial payments address the situation when injuries cause permanent damage to a worker's body -- even if that injury does not stop them from working once they are past the healing phase. Permanent partial payments are paid according a table that assigns each body part a specific "value" in the form of weekly compensation payments. The more serious the injury, the longer the payments will be received. A worker who loses a little finger in an accident with a piece of industrial machinery, for example, would receive 25 weekly payments as compensation. Losing a thumb, however, would entitle the worker to 100 weeks of compensation.
Permanent total benefits are only paid when a worker becomes completely disabled due to an injury. These payments are relatively rare. Under Maryland's worker's comp system, someone is only considered permanently and totally disabled if they have lost the use of two limbs, both hands, their eyes or a combo of a limb, hand and/or eye.
Because workers' compensation payments are only part of the compensation available to you -- and they are limited -- you shouldn't count on your employer's insurance company to tell you what you are owed. Explore all of your legal options as you recover.
Source: www.wcc.state.md.us, "Maryland Workers' Compensation Law," accessed Jan. 31, 2018