Pain and Suffering under Maryland Workers Compensation laws provided to injured workers?
There are a number of benefits provided to those who are unfortunate enough to be injured on the job in Maryland. Among them include compensation benefits, medical benefits, out of pocket expense reimbursements, and potentially job training.
Discussion on pain and suffering in car accident cases go here.
Is Pain and Suffering part of the compensation benefits paid to injured workers in Maryland?
While there is ordinarily a form of settlement in work comp claims, pain and suffering is not considered when obtaining this compensation. Many injured on the job have heard about pain and suffering as applicable in auto accident cases. When a person brings a personal injury lawsuit based on injuries sustained in an auto accident, slip and fall, assault or other negligent act they are able to recover money based on the pain that they experienced while recovering from the accident. Pain and suffering is legitimized by the treatment that they underwent along with testimony they may provide.
Unlike a negligence suite, workers comp cases do not necessarily factor in pain and suffering.
If you were hurt at work in Maryland and are currently experiencing pain call +1 (410) 937-1659 or Email. Mr Rodabaugh is available to provide a no cost, free consultation.
Does this mean my Pain and Suffering does not matter under Maryland’s workman’s comp?
Not necessarily. The clear answer is that pain and suffering matters only if it exists at the time the injured worker was discharged from medical care. Toward the end of the case an injured worker will be entitled to compensation. Testimony from the injured worker regarding the pain they endured while recovering is prohibited in their workers comp case. Essentially, the testimony about pain and suffering is not relevant. However, their is very often a positive correlation between the amount of treatment undertaken and the value of a claim. Surgery cases generally have an increased value, and often with surgery comes increased pain and suffering. Likewise, someone that underwent aggressive and prolonged treatment will see an increased award over someone who receives limited treatment. This is not the rule and injured workers should not strive to undergo needless treatment just to increase settlement value.
Pain and suffering does matter in a workers compensation case at the time of medical discharge.
If an employee is discharged from care and they have remaining pain they are entitled to money for that pain. This is referred to as permanent partial disability. Any remaining complaints, problems, limitations, and issues the injured worker has will lead to compensation. If no remaining complaints, then no compensation. To touch again on the correlation between amount of treatment and increased settlement value- someone who undergoes surgery often has continued pain and suffering for life. The permanent pain may be limited in nature compared to what the injured worker endured while treating and that is the distinction as to what is relevant in a workers compensation claim versus a personal injury claim. Pain is most likely heightened right after a surgery. This matters in a personal injury case, it does not matter in a workers compensation case.
What is permanent partial disability under Maryland Workers Compensation?
The compensation paid to an injured Maryland worker is referred to as a permanent impairment or permanent disability. Some confusion exists that this compensation will be paid on a permanent basis. This is not true under Maryland workers compensation laws. States permanent impairment laws vary in regard to the time frame of these payments. Maryland law provides that permanent impairment is paid at a set rate which is statutorily mandated. Further, permanency payments are paid for a certain number of weeks depending on the award of the Maryland Workers Compensation Commission or the agreement with the insurance company. There are other disability avenues that may lead to lifetime payments but Maryland workers compensation is ordinarily not one of them. Only in a very rare circumstance are payments made for life and this involves injuries that lead to the employee unable to work in almost any capacity. I estimate in less than 3% of cases a permanent and total disability is obtained.
How do I get permanent partial disability money under Maryland Workers Compensation?
A permanent disability award is obtained only after an injured worker is released from their medical doctor and found to have reached MMI. MMI is maximum medical improvement, basically the injured worker is as good as he or she is going to get from the medical treatment that is available. Once this occurs a Rating can be performed by a qualified physician. There are limited physicians in Maryland that can perform a rating. An injured worker should not attempt to get a rating done on their own. A defective rating can mean the difference between lifetime medical, 10 of thousands of dollars, or no future medical and very little money.
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