Vocational Rehabilitation Services in Maryland Workers’ CompensationJuly 25, 2023
Once you reach maximum medical improvement (MMI), you will be examined by a physician. They will determine whether you can return to your job and what restrictions you may face. You may need some training, whether it is to help you return to your job or to find a new profession.
If you cannot return to the job you performed before your work-related injury, with or without restrictions, you may be eligible for vocational rehabilitation services. The goal is for you to be able to engage in another type of employment that is more suitable for you in light of your physical condition if you cannot go back to your job.
Workers’ Compensation May Pay for Vocational Rehabilitation
While medical coverage and partial lost wages are the main parts of Workers’ Compensation benefits, you may also be entitled to other economic costs you may incur. It would be unfair to make you, as the worker, bear the costs of your retraining. Besides, it would be in the insurance company’s interest to have you retrained because it may mean they pay less in benefits. They would usually be financially responsible for paying for your vocational rehabilitation training.
Your Situation Matters as Part of the Vocational Rehabilitation
The vocational rehabilitation plan that is proposed for you can take on several forms. There is not necessarily a one-size-fits-all approach. You have some say in the actual process based on your own needs. The Maryland Workers’ Compensation Commission must take into account several factors, including:
- Your earnings before the accident.
- Your particular interests,
- Your qualifications before the injury.
- The extent of your disability.
The vocational rehabilitation plan is governed by Maryland law. The Commission’s plan must give you a “reasonable chance to regain employment.” Ideally, the goal of the vocational rehabilitation plan is for you to return to the job you had before you were injured, whether it is the same exact duties you were performing or those with some restrictions. Sometimes, your injury is severe enough that you may be trained for a different type of job. If your injury is severe, you could be trained for self-employment.
Your Voice Matters in Determining Your Vocational Rehabilitation Plan
You have a say in your vocational rehabilitation program. If the rehabilitation plan that has been proposed for you is insufficient, you have the right to object. You can bring new evidence and request a hearing within 15 days after receiving notice of the Commission’s plan. The Commission would have the final say over the plan.
You will likely be unable to return to the income level you were at before your injury. Realistically, you will end up somewhere between your pre and post-injury earnings capabilities. However, you should do your best to get the most comprehensive vocational rehabilitation possible. An experienced lawyer can advocate for you and work to make sure that your needs and situation are addressed in your vocational rehabilitation plan.
Our Baltimore Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Can Help You With Your Benefits
If you need legal assistance with your claim or benefits, contact our Baltimore Workers’ Compensation lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton today. Call us at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.
We have offices in Baltimore, Glen Burnie, Lanham, and Owings Mills, allowing us to represent clients in Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel County, Baltimore County, Carroll County, Harford County, Howard County, Montgomery County, Maryland’s Western Counties, Prince George’s County, Queen Anne’s County, Southern Maryland, and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of Catonsville, Essex, Halethorpe, Middle River, Rosedale, Gwynn Oak, Brooklandville, Dundalk, Pikesville, Nottingham, Windsor Mill, Lutherville, Timonium, Sparrows Point, Ridgewood, and Elkridge.