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What is a permanency award in Maryland Workers’ Compensation?

Pennsylvania and Maryland workers’ compensation systems are starkly different in terms of benefits and settlements.  So if you have been injured at work in Maryland, what is your case worth?

First, while an injured worker is recovering from a work injury, the injured worker may be entitled to temporary disability benefits.  If the injured worker is out of work due to the injury, then the injured worker may receive temporary total disability. Additionally, if the injured worker has returned to work part-time and has reduced wages, then the injured work may receive temporary partial disability.  An injured worker remains eligible for these benefits until a return to work with no wage loss or until the injured worker reaches maximum medical improvement (MMI).

So what happens when a Maryland injured worker reaches MMI, but remains somewhat disabled from the medical condition?  Maryland Workers’ Compensation law provides for permanency awards.  This is different than Pennsylvania.  Pennsylvania has no such permanency ratings for awards.  In Maryland, there are two types of permanency awards, permanent total and permanent partial.

So when is that triggered and what does that mean?  Let me explain.

To be eligible for a permanency award, the injured worker’s treating physician must find the injured to have reached maximum medical improvement.  Maximum medical improvement (MMI) means no further treatment is warranted.  Think of it as your medical condition has become ‘it is what it is’.  Essentially, there is no further medical treatment that will improve your medical condition.  Once an MMI position is determined, then the temporary disability benefits terminate.  However, the injured worker may then still be eligible for a permanent award.

How is the permanency award calculated?  First, an injured worker will likely undergo two different examinations.  First, the injured worker will be examined by a doctor of the injured worker’s choice, and second, the workers compensation insurance company will have the injured worker examined by a doctor of their choice.  Many times the two opinions are not aligned, meaning the insurance company’s rating will be lower.  How are the two rating reconciled?  Many times, the two sides will agree based on a negotiations between the injured worker’s attorney and the insurance company.  If the two sides can’t agree, then the final permanency rating will be determined by a Maryland workers’ compensation commissioner.

Check back for the next article n explaining how these permanency awards are calculated.

If you have been injured at work in Maryland, you can Count on Mooney to fight for and protect your rights and benefits.  Call for an absolutely FREE phone consultation today at 833-MOONEYLAW or 717-200-HELP.  You can also visit Mooney Law on the web.