Maryland workers’ compensation provides for a permanency award at the end of your Maryland workers’ compensation case, should you have ongoing disability or impairment as a result of the work injury. Eligibility for a workers compensation permanency award happens at the end of your workers compensation case when you reach maximum medical improvement.  You can read more about maximum medical improvement here.

What are the types of Maryland workers compensation permanency awards?

In Maryland workers compensation, you may be entitled to monetary benefits for permanently disability as a result of your work injury. The permanency award must be approved by the Maryland Workers’ Compensation Commission.  Generally, there are two types of permanency awards.

Permanent partial disability benefits are awarded when an injured worker has a permanent disability that does not completely disable the worker from participating in the workforce. These wards are meant to compensate an injured worker for those residual impairments. These benefits are payable over a period of time as specified by the statute or may be payable by lump sum, as agreed to by the parties. It gets complex with different ‘tiers’ that impact the weeks and amounts paid to the injured worker. It depends on the extent of the permanency rating.  If your permanency is found to be 75 weeks or under, then you would be in Tier 1.  The Tier 1 compensation rate is set annually by the Maryland Workers’ Compensation Commision.  If you are your rating percentage entitles you to a permanency award between 75 weeks and

Permanent total disability benefits are equal to the weekly benefit payment afforded for permanent partial disability benefits. However, permanent total disability benefits are permanent in nature because the injured worker is deemed to be permanently, completely disabled from rejoining the workforce. These are certainly more rare.

How are Maryland workers compensation permanency awards determined?

Again, when the Maryland workers compensation permanency award process begins at the end of your case when you have reached maximum medical improvement.  To determine the extent of a claimant’s permanent disability, the Maryland Workers’ Compensation Commission requires expert medical opinions that determine the extent of impairment, otherwise known as a ‘rating’.  How is that done?  Both you and the insurance carrier will get medical examinations set up with separate doctors. Each doctor will examine you and then provide a narrative report that will end with their opinion on your percentage of impairment. In other words, you will get your rating, they will get their rating. Mooney Law will help guide you to doctors that provide permanency ratings.  It should not surprise you that typically your doctor will provide a rating higher than what the insurance company doctor will provide.

How are Maryland workers compensation permanency awards calculated?

First, there is a table in the Maryland Workers’ Compensation Act that sets forth a total number of weeks for certain body parts.  The weeks set forth are considered if the injured worker is 100% impaired.  Interesting to note, shoulder, neck and back are not listed in the chart, so they are considered to be ‘other cases’.  Here is the schedule:

Thumb           100 weeks

Fingers           25-40 weeks

Great Toe       40 weeks

Other toes      10 weeks

Hand              250 weeks

Arm               300 weeks

Foot              250 weeks

Leg               300 weeks

Eye               250 weeks

Hearing          125 weeks per ear

Other cases    500 weeks

Second, permanency awards are paid in Tier rates.  There are three Tiers.  The compensation rate at each tier is set forth annually by the Maryland Workers’ Compensation Commission. The Tiers are:

Tier 1:  Tier 1 is considered minor disability and is for ratings found to be payable for less than 75 weeks

Tier 2:  Tier 2 is for permanency payable between 75 weeks and 249 weeks.

Tier 3:  Tier 3 is for permanency payable for 250 or more weeks.

How are is your Tier level determined in Maryland Workers’ Compensation permanency?

Your Tier level is determined by impairment rating percentage.  Each doctor will give a percentage rating of impairment.  By way of example, let’s assume you injured your hand at work and have reached maximum medical improvement.  You are sent for a rating evaluation and your doctor finds that you have a 20% impairment of your hand.  On the chart above, the statute provides for 250 weeks for a hand.  But, remember, the 250 weeks if for 100% impairment.  Since your impairment percentage is 20% of your hand, then you are entitled to 50 weeks (250 weeks times 20%) of compensation.  Since 50 weeks is below 75 weeks, you would be compensated as a Tier 1 case.  If your permanency rating is 40% impairment to your hand, then you would be compensated for 100 weeks (250 weeks times 40%).  You would be compensated as a Tier 2 case.

As previously stated, the Tier rates are determined annually by the Maryland Workers’ Compensation Commission.  For 2024, the Tier compensation rates are:  Tier 1:  $244.00 per week, Tier 2:  $486.00, and Tier 3:  2/3 of the average weekly wage, not to exceed 75% of the statewide average weekly wage.

What happens if you and the insurance carrier cannot agree on an amount?

Once you receive a rating from your doctor, then Issues should be filed with the Maryland Workers Compensation Commission on ‘nature and extent of disability’.  The Commission will automatically schedule a hearing on partial permanency.  Depending on the two ratings, the injured worker’s attorney and the insurance carrier attorney may negotiate an amount between the two ratings. If a resolution cannot be reached, then a hearing will be required with the Maryland Workers’ Compensation Commission. The injured worker will testify to extent of impairment, difficulties, symptoms, and more. Both reports will be submitted as evidence. Then the Maryland Workers’ Compensation Commission will make a determination of the amount of the permanency award.

As you can see, this process is quite complex. An experienced workers’ compensation attorney can make a big difference in your case and your ultimate award. Mooney Law has obtained tens of millions of dollars in benefits for injured workers throughout Pennsylvania and Maryland. We are experienced, proven, and trusted. Call us today for an absolutely FREE CONSULTATION at 443-712-7767 or 301-329-3630. You can also email us direct at info@mooney4law.com. You can also visit us on the web at Mooney4Law.com.