Workers’ compensation case values can be difficult to understand. It’s easy to explain some of the usual benefits—lifetime medical care, and the amount of lost wages payable, for example. The difficult part is the final award for disability—how is a lost toe, an injured back, or hand ravaged by carpal tunnel calculated?
Permanent Partial Disability (PPD)
The “nature and extent” hearing is designed to determine the amount of permanent partial disability that an injured worker has because of a job accident or occupational disease. The hearing may be unnecessary if the parties settle or stipulate, but in reaching agreement the parties know what the maximum recoverable award would be at a hearing. If no agreement is possible, the hearing would determine the final percentage of injury (aided by medical evidence).
The maximum recoverable is determined by evaluating these factors:
Step One: Compensable Weeks
Maryland law has a chart of body parts that outlines the number of weeks of compensation attributable to that body part. If that body part is 100% disabled because of the work injury, then the worker should receive the full number of weeks. Here is the list:
- Thumb: 100 weeks
- Fingers: 25 to 40 weeks
- Large Toe: 40 weeks
- Other Toes: 10 weeks
- Hand: 250 weeks
- Arm: 300 weeks
- Foot: 250 weeks
- Leg: 300 weeks
- Eye: 250 weeks
- Hearing: 125 weeks per ear
- Other Cases: 500 weeks
Step Two: Tiers of Injury
The next step is to determine the tier of injury. This describes the seriousness of the injury—more serious injuries are valued at a higher tier. AWW refers to “Average Weekly Wage,” and the amounts listed are for injuries occurring on or after January 1, 2013.
- First Tier: less than 75 weeks (this is for minor injuries) (1/3 of AWW, not over $166 per week)
- Second Tier: 75 to 249 weeks (2/3 of AWW, not over $330 per week)
- Third Tier: 250+ weeks (2/3 of AWW, not over $743 per week)
Step Three: Average Weekly Wage
Calculating the average weekly wage is usually a simple matter. 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.
Step Four: The Calculation
To determine the value of a case, the applicable AWW (limited by tier level) is multiplied by the number of compensable weeks. From that number, attorneys’ fees are deducted (typically 20%).
If you have questions about a Maryland on-the-job injury, contact our workers’ compensation lawyers at 1-800-776-4529, or through our website. We have an excellent workers’ compensation section, and can help you secure the award you are entitled to.
More Maryland Workers’ Compensation Case Information
- Maryland Workers’ Compensation 101
- Am I Covered by Workers’ Compensation? Employees Versus Independent Contractors
- Maryland Automobile Accidents While On-The-Job
- Resolving Maryland Workers’ Compensation Cases: Settlement Versus Stipulation
- Maryland Work Injuries: Preparing for a Nature & Extent Hearing
- How You Can Help Your Maryland Workers’ Compensation Case