Worker’s Compensation Part I: An Introduction

two oil and gas workers inside large refinery, oil and gas.

The attorneys at Murnane & O’Neill outline the various levels of worker’s compensation to which injured workers may be entitled. This is the introductory article of a series on worker’s compensation.

Employees who are injured on the job may be eligible for worker’s compensation. Such benefits may include weekly compensation, permanent impairment benefits, payment of medical bills, vocational rehabilitation, or some combination of the former.

The total amount of benefits paid, and the length of time over which payments will be distributed, is determined by a worker’s disability classification. An employee assigned temporary disability will receive fewer monetary benefits than one whose disability is considered permanent. Workers who have been temporarily disabled are typically recovering from an injury that is expected to improve. Although permanently disabled workers are considered medically stable, they are not expected to return to their prior state of health.

Likewise, employees who are given a partial disability classification will be offered fewer benefits than those who are classified as fully disabled. A worker who qualifies for full disability is not able to return to their previous workplace, but, workers classified as partially disabled may return to work in a less physically demanding capacity.

In the state of Maryland, there is no limit on the length of time that workers on temporary disability are eligible to receive benefits, so long as it has not been determined that an injury has reached the maximum level of medical improvement. In Maryland, workers with total or temporary partial disability are paid two thirds of their average weekly salary, not to exceed $1,027.00.

Workers assigned temporary partial disability have the ability to perform a degree of work, and as such are eligible for different benefits. In addition to the wages they earn from part time work, partially and temporarily disabled workers in Maryland are paid an additional 50% of their average annual wage each week, up to the national average of $514.00.

Workers who are injured on the job are afforded the right to coverage of any resulting medical expenses through the use of their employer’s worker’s compensation insurance. After a certain amount of time, insurance companies may evaluate such claims and determine that the worker has exceeded length of time necessary to receive appropriate treatment. The insurance company may also determine that the treatment a worker has requested reimbursement for will not contribute to its improvement.

If the insurance company makes this determination, the disabled worker may need to file a claim with the state of Maryland. In some cases, the state will pay for vocational training if a worker is unable to return to his or her previous job following a work injury.

In the next installment of this series on worker’s compensation, the attorneys at Murnane & O’Neill will further explore additional disability classifications and how they are determined.

If you have been injured on the job, you may need legal representation to ensure that you receive the benefits to which you are entitled. Contact the attorneys at Murnane & O’Neill today.