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THE SUBSEQUENT INJURY FUND (SIF). Maryland Workers Compensation Attorney

 

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THE MARYLAND SUBSEQUENT INJURY FUND (SIF)

The Subsequent Injury Fund created by Maryland law is a state agency which, in some workers compensation cases, provides additional compensation to injured workers who have pre-existing medical conditions that affect their ability to work to some degree.  The agency was created to encourage employers to hire employees with pre-existing medical conditions by limiting the employers liability.

The name Subsequent Injury Fund is often the source of much confusion among those injured on the job but also those attorneys not so rehearsed in workers compensation law.  It is important to know that the Fund pays for conditions that existed PRIOR to the workers comp case and not subsequent to the workers comp case.  There is no SIF liability for a condition that develops after the work injury took place.

The SIF is often referred to as the workers comp fund for the elderly because for most it is only later in life one develops enough pre-existing conditions to meet the threshold to qualify for Subsequent Injury Fund compensation.

Funding the Maryland Subsequent Injury Fund

The Subsequent Injury Fund is an operable state agency that is funded by assessments against Workers Compensation Insurers in the state of Maryland.  The SIF uses that money for operational costs as well as paying liabilities on claims.  Workers Compensation Insurers in the state of Maryland are assessed a fee of 6.5% of any permanency award.  The insurers are also assessed 6.5% on any settlement of a Maryland Workers Compensation Claim.

Right now the Subsequent Injury fund has approximately an $82,000,000 balance that can be used for operational expenses and paying successful claimants workers compensation awards.  A copy of the Fund Balance for years 2011 to present can be found here.

 

For a no cost consultation with Montgomery County workers comp Attorney Andrew M. Rodabaugh call  +1 (410) 937-1659  , Email ,  or fill out the form at the bottom of this page.

Maryland workers compensation claims that may qualify for Subsequent Injury Fund involvement 

There are two questions the answers to which will indicate whether there is a plausible SIF case.  1. Is the injury of the Claimant severe? 2. Does the Claimant have significant health conditions that were present before the workers comp accident took place?

 

  • Is the work injury severe enough to justify involving the Subsequent Injury Fund?

When determining if SIF may be involved in your case the severity of the injury is the first consideration.  The amount of medical treatment the injured worker underwent is often a good starting point when analyzing the severity of the injury.  An accident that only required a few months of physical therapy and some pain medication is likely not going to meet the threshold needed to obtain compensation from the Subsequent Injury Fund.  However, if surgery, extensive pain management, or extensive psychological injury is involved it is often prudent to consider impleading the Maryland SIF into the workers compensation case.

Another consideration that needs to be taken into account when determining if there is potential Subsequent Injury Fund liability is what member of the body was injured.  It is very unlikely that any finger injury case would rise to the threshold needed to implead the SIF and obtain compensation.  With that said, some of the finger cases involving complete amputation have a slight chance of hitting the threshold to implead the Fund.  Injuries involving the spinal cord, head, or shoulder(s) are the most common cases that lead to SIF involvement, mainly because of the structure of the Maryland Workers Compensation permanency calculations.

  • Are the pre-existing conditions severe enough to justify Subsequent Injury Fund involvement in the workers compensation case?

Essentially the same analysis used in determining the severity of the work injury goes into determining the severity of the pre-existing conditions.  Was there a surgery prior to the work accident?  What amount of treatment did the injured worker have for the pre-existing condition?  Did the surgery involve the spine, shoulders, head?  

There are however some other factors that need to be accounted for when determining if the pre-existing conditions or injuries rise to justify Subsequent Injury Fund liability.  First and foremost, cases that successfully obtain SIF money are those that involve more than one pre-existing condition, often 5 or more conditions or disabilities that were present before the work accident.  To met the SIF threshold it is usually necessary to have multiple prior conditions even if they are seemingly minor to the claimant.  Conditions that are not usually involved in workers compensation cases may play a huge factor for SIF involvement if they were pre-existing.  Consider health issues such as high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, eyesight, hearing issues, arthritis, gout, cancer, and many other medical conditions.  If the condition in anyway affects the workers ability to perform their job than it should be considered.  Conditions such as high blood pressure may require the worker to avoid cafeteria food at work, or may require frequent breaks at work.  Diabetes may require a break to take insulin or medication.

When SIF liability is questionable it is sometimes practice to use any and all pre-existing conditions to attempt to get to the threshold requirements.  The often used legal jargon: “throw everything but the kitchen sink at them”  to get to the threshold.

Threshold requirement to obtain compensation from the Subsequent Injury Fund

To meet the threshold and obtain money from the Maryland Subsequent Injury Fund the injured worker must obtain an award from the Workers Compensation Commission that amounts to atleast 125 weeks of  permanency for the injury sustained on the job.  If the Award is 125 weeks or more the injured worker must then be awarded another 125 weeks of permanency payments for the pre-existing conditions.  Total permanency award will be atleast 250 weeks of payments.

It is worth noting that the more injured body parts one person has the better chances they have of reaching the SIF compensation threshold. 

How do you determine the weeks of permanency payments?

The weeks awarded are the result of calculations determined from the percentage impairment awarded by the Commission.  If the Commission were to award 25% impairment to the back they would be awarding 125 weeks of payments.  For injuries to the back, neck head, shoulders, psychological injuries, or other conditions such as cancers, heart or lung disease the award must atleast be 25%.  For the arm and leg, the award must be atleast 41.7% to obtain 125 weeks of payments.  For the hand or foot the award must be atleast 50%.

 

If you have a workers compensation case that you would like to discuss with Maryland Workers Compensation Attorney Andrew M. Rodabaugh he is available for a free consultation.  If you believe the injuries you have sustained are severe enough to involve the Subsequent Injury Fund in your case than notify Mr. Rodabaugh of this.  When SIF is involved and compensation is successfully obtained from them the total amount of compensation the injured worker receives is often doubled from what they would have received without the SIF being involved.  Workers Compensation is a complicated process for the injured worker.  When the SIF is involved the process becomes even more complicated and is difficult for some attorney’s to understand.  Mr. Rodabaugh is the qualified and experienced Maryland workers compensation attorney you need on your side!

 

Andrew was my Workman’s Comp lawyer for a case that was just recently settled. He is the type of lawyer that all lawyers aspire to be: experienced, confident, smart, and dependable. Throughout my four year ordeal, Andrew was patient in responding to my questions, reliable in keeping me updated, and empathetic with my situation. He really does care about his clients and you can’t do any better than Andrew on your team. From accident to settlement, I was always happy with the hard work that Andrew…
Michelle R.

Consultations are Always free and Representation is on a contingency basis so there is no fee unless money is recovered!

For a no cost consultation with Maryland workers compensation Attorney Andrew M. Rodabaugh call  +1 (410) 937-1659     , Email ,  or fill out the form below:

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