The term workers’ compensation is used to refer to the insurance carried by employers to take care of injured employees. It is also shorthand for the Workers’ Compensation Commission (WCC), which is the entity that processes and decides contested workers’ compensation claims. When an on-the-job injury occurs, you might question whether you qualify for workers’ compensation benefits, and what those benefits are. Here are some basics:

Who Qualifies?

Workers’ compensation benefits are generally available for employees who were accidentally injured while in the course of their employment. Sometimes it is very clear whether someone is an employee and whether the accident happened in the course of their job duties. Other times it may require some legwork to know for sure, particularly if the employer claims that the worker was not an employee but instead an independent contractor. Maryland has many rules and cases on the circumstances in which an employee is covered by workers’ compensation insurance.

What Benefits Are Available?

There are several common benefits available to employees who suffered on-the-job injuries. Some of these benefits include:

-Lost wages: employees who miss more than 3 days of work are allowed to recover temporary total disability payments. Your lawyers might refer to this as TT. Maryland law allows injured workers to receive two-thirds of their average weekly wage (AWW). The average weekly wage is calculated by adding together all payments for the 14-week period immediately before the accident, and dividing that number by 14. The number is capped, however, at the State average weekly wage (in 2012 it is $965.00)

-Medical expenses: the employer’s insurance company must pay all medical bills which are necessary and related to the on-the-job accident. This includes medication, doctor bills, hospital expenses, physical therapy and radiology scans. Like health insurance, the employer’s insurer will usually pay medical providers a lower rate, and the medical provider will waive the balance. Employees should not have to pay for any of their medical care.

-Vocational Rehabilitation: If after an injury the employee cannot return to his job or a comparable job, he may be eligible for “voc rehab.” Employees can sometimes receive on-the-job training, vocational counseling, testing and job placement.

-Final Workers’ Compensation Award: If the employee is permanently injured, he may be eligible for additional payments. The Workers’ Compensation Commissioner decides what those payments are based on the nature and extent of the injury. In many cases, the lawyer for the claimant and the lawyer for the insurance company can agree to a workers’ compensation settlement for this portion of the claim.

If you have been injured in Maryland while working on-the-job, contact us today. We’re here to help.