Workers compensation is a system of laws meant to protect injured and disabled workers. The goal is to make sure someone injured at their workplace gets adequate medical care, lost wages relating to the on-the-job injury, and, if necessary, and any retraining necessary to restore them to the workforce.
If a worker is killed on the job, members of the workers' families are typically eligible for workers compensation benefits. Injured workers may want to consult an attorney for advice in protecting their benefits and defending against any attempt to prematurely terminate their benefits.
In Maryland, workers compensation is compulsory, which means that employers are required to provide worker's compensation insurance for their employees. This may be done through a competitive state fund, a private insurance carrier, or employers may self-insure. Waivers may be permitted.
Office workers and some agricultural workers on small private farms are exempt from coverage. Independent contractors working on farms, with the exception of migrant laborers, are excluded from coverage. Any domestic worker whose earnings are over $750 in any calendar quarter from a private household is covered by the state worker's compensation act.
Employees are allowed to make the initial choice of physician, although selection by employer is also permitted, and full benefits are provided with no time or monetary limits.
Temporary total disability payments are a percentage of the worker's wage and continue for the duration of the disability.
Permanent total disability payments are calculated as a percentage of the worker's wage and typically continue for the duration of the disability.
Permanent partial disability benefits are allotted based on a percentage of the worker's wage and may continue for the duration of the disability.
Physical rehabilitation benefits are covered as part of medical services, and vocational rehabilitation benefits are available.
An employee's surviving spouse, or spouse and children may collect death benefits, based upon a percentage of the employee's wages and subject to a cap. A burial allowance is also available.
Maryland workers compensation laws stipulate that attorney fees for claimants are limited to 20% of the first $10,000, 15% of the next $15,000, and 10% of the balance. In certain cases, the attorney fee may be added to the award.