When Workers Cannot Perform Pre-Injury JobsDecember 12, 2017
Not all injured workers recover well enough to return to the job they were doing before their injury. Workers’ Compensation benefits do not pay as much as what a worker makes pre-injury. It is important to communicate with an employer that a doctor has ordered restrictions on the type of work that can be done, if this is the case.
An injured employee can show their employer a doctor’s written instructions if they have new restrictions on the work they can do. If need be, an employer must provide less strenuous tasks. If a request is denied, the employee should note the day it happened, as well as the time, and who turned the request down. In the absence of light duty work, Workers’ Compensation benefits should continue. If a worker is offered a light duty assignment they must take it or risk being fired and having their benefits cut off.
Temporary and Permanent Partial Disability
If the new job assigned earns less than the employee’s previous position held prior to the injury, then an employee will be paid temporary partial disability benefits. These benefits are equal to half of the difference between a worker’s old and new wages. For example, if the worker is making $200 less than before, then the benefits will be $100.
When a doctor has fully released the worker from care, the worker is then eligible for permanent partial disability benefits. This is not the same as returning to work. A worker must have reached maximum medical improvement before being able to apply for permanent partial disability benefits.
If a workplace injury prevents someone from returning to the same line of work they were performing before, then they may be eligible for vocational rehabilitation. This is the process of training for a new job and may involve testing, vocational counseling, on the job training or retraining, and job placement. A specialist will work with the employee to help them reenter the workforce. Vocational rehabilitation is reserved for workers who are medically unable to return to the job they held before they were injured.
If a medical evaluation determines that a worker is totally and permanently disabled and therefore, cannot return to work, then they may receive benefits indefinitely. If they are partially permanently disabled, then benefits will continue for a specific amount of time based on the nature of the disability.
Baltimore Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Seek Compensation for Injured Workers
If you or a loved one has questions about Workers’ Compensation benefits or if your workplace injury claim has been denied, contact an experienced Baltimore Workers’ Compensation lawyer at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton. Call 844-556-4LAW (4529) or contact us online to schedule an appointment. With offices in Columbia, Glen Burnie, Towson, and Baltimore, we serve clients throughout the state of Maryland.