If I cannot sue my employer because of the injuries that I sustained at work, what benefits, if any, can I receive?
Under workers’ compensation law you are entitled to get paid temporary total benefits which is two-thirds of your pay for every day you missed, except you don’t get paid for the first three days unless you miss two weeks. You are entitled to have all treatment paid for the rest of your life as long as the treatment is related to the accident. Finally you are entitled to a permanent injury award, which is a substitute for an award you might have received if you were allowed to sue someone and it is something like, although not equal to a pain and suffering award.
Lifetime Medical benefits
The first of the workers compensation benefits you received is medical treatment. The medical treatment must be causally related to the accident. Medical treatment can include seeing the doctor, going to the hospital, having surgery, physical therapy, medical devices, etc. and you’re entitled get reimbursed for any mileage to and from the doctor. The medical treatment covers you for the rest of your life as long as it’s related to the accident.
Temporary Total benefits-Lost wages
The second of the workers compensation benefits you’re entitled to under workers compensation claim is lost wages. If as a result of the accident you were out of work, you’re entitled to get paid two thirds of your average weekly wage for the period you’re out of work until you reach maximum medical improvement.
If you’re injured on the job, and you can’t go back to the type of work you were doing at least temporarily, then you’re entitled to get paid temporary total. It’s called temporary total because the benefits are temporary until you’re released to go back to work or until basically your medical treatment is over. It’s based upon your average weekly wage. Your average weekly wage is calculated by the average of your wages over a 14 week period before the accident. Your employer will provide the insurance company a wage statement indicating what you made for the 14 weeks before the accident. Those 14 weeks are added altogether, and then you divide it by 14, and that’s your average weekly wage.
Under Worker’s Compensation your workers compensation benefits require you to be paid two thirds of your average week wage for each week you missed. The reason it’s two thirds is because the money is tax-free. Normally when you’re working you have taxes are taken out. When you’re on Worker’s Comp. no taxes taken out. In theory, the money you clear while you’re collecting Worker’s Comp. should be similar to the money you are clearing when you are working. It’s paid until you reach maximum medical improvement. Once you reached maximum medical improvement then your condition is no longer temporary but it’s now permanent if you’re still having problems.
Maximum medical improvement means no treatment that can be provided will make your condition any better. That may not mean that you don’t need other medical treatment. You may still need some pain management.
If you’re not back to work but the doctor says you’re at maximum medical improvement, your temporary total benefits would end.
The next of the workers compensation benefits you’re entitled to is vocational rehabilitation. If you’re not able to go back to the type of work you were doing at the time of the accident as a result of the injuries you sustained as a result of the work- related accident and if the employer will not provide you with permanent light duty, then you are entitled to receive vocational rehabilitation. While you’re looking for work and working with a vocational counselor, you will receive temporary total benefits because you’re working with the vocational counselor. If you don’t cooperate with the vocational counselor, you won’t receive the benefits.
Permanent Injury Award
Finally, the next of the workers compensation benefits you are eligible for after you’ve completed your medical treatment, returned to work either with your old employer or through vocational rehabilitation, then we go to what’s called the permanent injury award part of the case. Under Maryland Worker’s Compensation there’s no settlement per se for pain and suffering. Instead there is a permanent injury award. If you have a permanent injury then you are entitled to an award from the Worker’s Compensation Commission.