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Many injured workers hear the phrase disability payments and begin to think that workers comp payments for life is a regular occurance.  For those in the workers compensation industry it is not uncommon to occasionally have to explain the distinction between social security disability, short term disability, long term disability, and workers compensation disability.


If you beleive you qualify for workers compensation payments for life you may contact us for a free consultation:

Call Us, Click to email  or just fill out the form at the bottom of the page and Mr. Rodabaugh will contact you!


Does the injured Maryland worker really receive workers comp payments for life?

Lifetime disability payments under workers compensation is very rare and an injured worker must be considered permanently and totally disable to qualify for workers comp payments for life.   What this means is that an injured worker must not be able to work in any capacity or only able to offer skills or labor of such low quality there is no reasonable and sustainable market for that person.  To get to this point in a workers compensation case often takes many, many years and is quite unlikely but occasionally an injured worker is so severely injured that they qualify for this benefit.

What factors are considered when determining that someone is entitled to workers comp payments for life

The severity of injury is ordinarily the first factor that all parties must consider when addressing the chances that the injured employee will qualify for permanent total disability payments (perm total) and thus receive workers comp payments for life.  when considering the severity we must not only consider the length of treatment and the form of treatment.  Also consider the body part that was injured.  A great majority of the permanent total disability cases are those with spinal injuries or those diagnosed with some form of complex regional pain syndrome.  Even if the worker was hurt and sustained a spinal injury treatment consisting of only physical therapy or some injections would not reach to threshold to be considered entitled to workers comp payments for life.

On the other hand, someone with multiple spinal surgeries and on high doses of pain medication may eventually be considered permanently and totally disabled which would lead to workers comp payments for life.  Severity of the injury is not the only consideration when determining if the hurt worker is, or will be perm total.

Education level is another factor that must be considered when determining the extent of disability because it directly affects the injure employee’s ability to find work that may not be as physically straining.  For instance, an injured employee with only a high school degree may have a difficult time finding employment as they will not qualify for many office jobs or light duty jobs.  They may only be qualified for hard labor type of work and their injury may prevent them from performing hard labor work.  A person with a lower education level may qualify easier for workers comp payments for life.  Someone with a masters or doctorate degree would have a difficult time qualifying for a perm total award because they would qualify for light duty positions, office positions, and jobs that are not so physically demanding.

Work experience should also be considered when analyzing a case to determine qualifications for workers comp payments for life.  The injured worker who has various skills will have a more difficult time qualifying for permanent total disability because they have various avenues of employment.  The jack of all trades construction worker may not be able to work in the field anymore, however he may still be able to work as a dispatcher or a truck driver.  The carpenter may not be able to build houses anymore but they may be able to perform home inspections or consultant work.

Procedurally how does one become permanently and totally disabled and entitled to workers comp payments for life?

The inability to return to the prior job is an absolute consideration when determining if an injured Maryland worker may qualify for permanent benefits.  If a doctor has indicated that the hurt employee can return to their prior position, the job they had when injured, the employee is going to have a very essentially an impossible time qualifying for workers comp payments for life.  To qualify for perm total benefits the injured employee must be found unable to work in any meaningful capacity.  If a return to the old occupation or any other occupation is probable then the workers comp claimant is not going to be awarded lifetime compensation payments.

Vocational Rehabiliation is usually the next step if the injured worker is not able to return to their previous occupation.  Voc rehab is a job counseling program which is designed to get the injured worker back to work in some capacity.  It is designed to get the worker into a position of suitable and gainful employment in an attempt to return the injured worker back to a position contributing society.  A permanent total designation comes into reach once a vocational counselor states that the injured worker is not employable or the voc process has gone on for an extended period of time with no job results.  In rare occasions an injured worker may be entitlted to workers comp payments for life without going through vocational rehab.  While it is best the injured worker continue to search for employment after the conclusion of vocational rehabiliation it is not always necessary to do so.  The longer the employee searches for employment with no results the more likely they obtain an award of perm total.

Eventually the injured workers attorney will file for a hearing before the Maryland workers compensation commission. The Commission will Order that the employee is permanently and totally disable only after the injured workers attorney has been successful in arguing the same.  This is a very high evidentiary burden.

Once the Commission orders the claimant paid for life the worker is considered totally disabled under Maryland workers compensation laws.  If the injured worker returns to the work force they are no longer considered permanently and totally disabled and the workers comp payments for life will stop.


Call Baltimore workers compensation attorney and Baltimore personal injury attorney Andrew M. Rodabaugh for a FREE consultation!  Call Us, Click to email  or just fill out the form at the bottom of the page and Mr. Rodabaugh will contact you!


Mr. Rodabaugh was a professional and courteous attorney who had my best interest in mind when handling my case.  I would highly recommend him to anyone in need of Workers Comp. Counsel.
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David B.

Maryland workers compensation attorney Andrew M. Rodabaugh and his office offers information about Personal Injury law and Workers’ Compensation for informational purposes only. Nothing contained herein constitutes formal legal advice. If you need the advice of a Maryland workers compensation lawyer, please contact him today. He has offices throughout the state and various convenient meeting locations.  Each and every case needs to be evaluated before legal advice can be provided.  Under no circumstance should the information on this website be considered medical advice. This is an attorney’s website and is not affiliated with any government agency or government entity of any kind.
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