If you are injured at work in Maryland, you are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. Depending on the severity of your injuries, your benefits may include medical treatment, compensation for wage loss, and job retraining. Below, we explain how workers’ compensation benefits are calculated in Maryland. (To learn how to get the claims process started, see our article on how to file a Maryland workers’ comp claim.)
In Maryland, the following types of benefits are available through workers’ comp:
However, state law limits your benefits, and the insurance company does not have to cover all your losses. For example, you cannot receive compensation for pain and suffering: the mental and physical stress you suffered as a result of your injury. Maryland also sets maximum payments for weekly workers’ comp benefits, as described below.
You cannot receive workers’ compensation until you file a claim for benefits. Maryland’s workers’ comp claim process includes strict notice and filing requirements. If you need help understanding the claims process, contact a workers’ comp lawyer for assistance.
Temporary disability benefits cover a portion of your lost wages while you are off work healing from your injuries. The insurance company will not pay for your first three days of disability unless you need more than 14 days off work. Benefits are paid until you return to work or until your doctors believe that your condition will no longer improve (also called reaching maximum medical improvement or MMI). Temporary benefits are paid for total or partial disabilities.
If you’re completely unable to work, you will be eligible for temporary total disability (TTD) benefits. These benefits are two-thirds of your average weekly wage. Maryland sets maximum and minimum weekly TTD rates each year ($1,052 and $50, respectively, in 2017). TTD benefits are paid until you either return to work or reach MMI.
If you can return to work, but you aren’t able to earn as much, Maryland workers’ comp pays a temporary partial disability (TPD) benefit. TPD benefits are 50 percent of the difference between your pre-injury and post-injury wages. For example, if you used to earn $800 in weekly wages, but you now can only earn $300, you would get $250 in TPD benefits ($800 - $300 = $500; 50% x $500 = $250). The state sets a maximum TPD benefit ($526 in 2017).
Once your doctors determine you are at MMI, you will be evaluated for a permanent disability. In you are found to be permanently and totally disabled, you will receive two-thirds of your average weekly wage, up to the state’s maximum benefit ($1,052 in 2017) and Maryland sets a minimum PTD benefit of $25.
Maryland law presumes that you are totally and permanently disabled if you completely lose the use of both arms, eyes, feet, hands, or legs, or any two of those body parts combined. Other injuries may also qualify, but only if they prevent you from performing any type of work. PTD benefits are paid as long as you are totally disabled (potentially a lifetime).
If your doctor finds that your permanent impairments are only partially disabling, you are eligible for permanent partial disability (PPD) benefits. Maryland pays different benefits for scheduled and unscheduled losses.
Like many states, Maryland has a schedule of body parts. If you suffer a total loss of use of a listed body part, you will receive weekly benefits for the period of time stated in the schedule. It includes the following:
If you suffer only a partial loss of a listed body part, you will receive a proportionate amount of the scheduled benefit. (For example, if you lose 50 percent use of your arm, you will receive 150 weeks of benefits.)
Unlike many states, Maryland’s weekly PPD amount varies depending on the number of weeks you are awarded in benefits:
Example: Suppose your first finger (index finger) is amputated, and your pre-injury average weekly wage was $800 per week. Maryland’s schedule awards 40 weeks of payment, so you will receive one-third of your average weekly wage per week. You will receive the maximum benefit of $176 for 40 weeks because one-third of your wages exceeds the maximum benefit ($800 x 0.333 = $266.67). But, if you had lost complete use of your hand, your PPD benefit would be $533.33 for 250 weeks ($800 x 0.6666 = $533.33).
If your permanent impairment is not listed on Maryland’s schedule, you will be eligible for an unscheduled loss award. The Commission will assign an impairment rating, stated as a percentage of lost function of the whole body. Your PPD benefits will be paid for a proportionate number of 500 weeks. For example, suppose a back injury reduces your total bodily function by 20%. You will receive 100 weeks of PPD benefits (500 x 0.2 = 100 weeks). The same weekly rates apply to both scheduled and unscheduled losses. Based on the rates mentioned above, you will receive two-thirds of your average weekly wage (with a maximum benefit of $351 in 2017).
If an injury or illness results in death, the worker’s dependents may receive death benefits. If the deceased worker provided 100 percent of the family’s income, the dependents will receive two-thirds of the worker’s average weekly wage. If the worker only contributed part of the family income, benefits are paid proportionately. For example, suppose a worker earned $600 per week, which was 40% of the family income. The death benefit would be 40 percent of two-thirds of the worker’s wages, or $160 per week ($600 x 0.6666 = $400, 40 percent of $400 = $160).
Typically, Maryland awards death benefits for a minimum of five years and a maximum of 12 years (although exceptions apply). For 2017, the minimum weekly death benefit is $25, and the maximum benefit is $1,052. Additionally, the insurance company must pay up to $7,000 for the worker’s reasonable funeral and burial expenses. (Additional funeral expenses may be covered with the Commission’s approval.)
Contact a Maryland workers’ comp lawyer immediately if the insurance company disputes your claim or reduces or denies your benefits. A lawyer can help you evaluate your claim, calculate your benefit rates, and ensure that you receive the proper compensation. (For more information, see our article on whether you need a lawyer for your workers’ comp case.)