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Vocational rehabilitation in Maryland workers' comp cases

In Maryland workers' compensation cases, interested parties often use the term "vocational rehabilitation" during negotiations and damage discussions. Workers' compensation benefits differ greatly from third-party personal injury claim benefits. In standard personal injury cases, injured parties stand to gain compensation for future and past lost wages, future and past medical expenses, pain and suffering, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life and other damages. However, in workers' compensation cases, damages are much more limited.

According to Maryland's Workers' Compensation Commission, injured workers may be entitled to permanent total disability benefits, temporary total disability benefits, temporary partial disability benefits and permanent partial disability benefits. For which a person qualifies determines for how long he or she will receive benefits and for what amount. However, the type of damages available is the same, no matter if a person qualifies for TTD, TPD or PPD. The state categorizes damages into three types:

  •        Medical/hospitalization benefits
  •        Wage reimbursement benefits
  •        Vocational rehabilitation

While the first two types of damages are self-explanatory, "vocational rehabilitation" is often misunderstood. Maryland's Workers' Compensation Commission also addresses what such rehabilitation entails.

Vocational rehabilitation is a mandatory part of the recovery phase if a worker's doctor concludes that the injured worker cannot return to his or her former job, and if the worker wishes to continue receiving benefits. Vocational rehabilitation services, which typically last up to 24 months, are designed to assist the injured party in re-entering the workforce and obtaining employment in an entirely different line of work. It generally consists of vocational assessment and evaluation, vocational counseling, vocational rehabilitation plan development, job placement, on-the-job training and retraining.

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