To fully understand the concept of the average settlement for a workers’ comp case, you’ll need to understand some of the basics about how workers’ compensation claims are filed and handled in Maryland.
Except for certain circumstances, the only option you have is to file for workers’ compensation if you suffer injuries on the job. Only in some instances can you file a lawsuit. The workers’ compensation process is an administrative claim against your employer. However, the Workers’ Compensation Commission also has several regulations that could prevent you from collecting for your injuries. If you do not correctly complete the documentation required or submit it on time, you could lose your workers’ compensation benefits.
The workers’ compensation insurance only covers injuries that were caused by an “accidental personal injury arising out of and in the course of employment.” It does not cover all on-the-job injuries.
The statute defines an accidental injury as one that happens “by chance or without design” and is unexpected or unintentional. Additionally, you must be an employee to collect workers’ compensation. If you are an employer or an independent contractor, you cannot collect workers’ comp. Further, if you are a sole proprietorship or a partnership, you cannot collect workers’ comp insurance.
The exception to the “accident” rule is an occupational disease. You could collect workers’ compensation if you can show that an occupational disease, such as lung issues from working with asbestos or chemicals or carpal tunnel syndrome from repetitive tasks, was caused because of your job. Although these are not accidents, they are an illness caused because of the work you perform for an employer.
What Does “Arise Out of the Employment” Mean?
For an accident claim to be successful, the law states that the accident must “arise out of the employment.” An example of this is if you work in an environment that is always slippery, such as a car wash. If you slip on the wet floor, your injury is an accident that arises out of the employment.
An accident can also “arise in the course of employment.” This means that you are on the clock, at your employer’s business or a location authorized by your employer, and you are performing your job or duties related to your job. For example, if you are a delivery person for an auto parts store, you might collect workers’ compensation if you slip on spilled oil in the store. Likewise, if you are picking up parts from the warehouse at the direction of your employer and as part of your job, you might collect workers’ compensation.
What Does a Workers’ Comp Settlement Include?
When you apply for benefits, you are applying for compensation for your injuries and other damages. Your workers’ comp settlement may include the below benefits, depending on the type of injuries you have and the circumstances surrounding them.
Temporary Total Disability Benefits
You might receive temporary total disability benefits if your injury prevents you from returning to work at all. If the time you are disabled is 14 or fewer days, benefits do not start until the fourth day of your disability. However, funeral expenses, medication, hospital services, nursing services and other medical services are covered for the entire 14 days.
Temporary Partial Disability Benefits
In cases where your injuries caused disabilities that allow you to work, but your disabilities prevent you from doing your regular job at full capacity, you could collect half of the difference between your average weekly wages and your wage-earning capacity.
If you are not able to work, the insurance covers two-thirds of your average weekly wage, but not more than the average Maryland weekly wage. The Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation calculates the average Maryland weekly wage every year. Regardless of the situation, the amount you collect can never be less than $50.
Permanent Total and Partial Disability Benefits
You could also receive permanent benefits if your work injuries cause a permanent total or partial disability. This includes every body part and you are not disqualified from getting permanent partial benefits if you are able to go back to work.
What is a Fair Workers’ Comp Resolution?
Injured workers who want to know what to expect out of their case need an understanding of what is a fair workers’ comp settlement amount. You should speak to an attorney about this because a disability rating from a doctor and your average weekly wage are big factors in determining how much you are entitled to. However, in some cases, your injuries might be life-long because of a car accident you suffered as a result of your employment or the negligence of a third party.
Car accidents do not include those that happen during your commute to and from work, but might include those that occur while you drive the employer’s vehicle in the course of your job. Some delivery drivers might fall under this exception.
Also, third party negligence is another exception. You could file a negligence lawsuit against the third party and still collect workers’ compensation in these instances. For example, if you have a job requiring you to climb a ladder on a silo and use a harness, but the ladder or harness are defective, you might be able to sue for negligence while also getting your workers compensation benefits.
In these cases, you or your family might collect past and future medical expenses and lost wages, funeral, burial or cremation expenses, pain and suffering, inconvenience, loss of quality of life, and loss of companionship and / or consortium.
How Do I Maximize my Workers’ Comp Settlement?
To maximize your workers’ comp settlement, contact Attorney Steven Heisler at (410) 625-4878 to help you file for workers’ comp insurance. If your accident injuries meet the requirements for filing a claim, we will help ensure that the required documentation is filled out correctly and is submitted on time.
Steve will let you know the best way to maximize your settlement. That might be filing a negligence or defective product claim against the third party. Even if you are limited to file a workers comp claim only, Steve will advise you on how to maximize the value of the claim.