Perhaps the biggest single difference between evaluating a Maryland workers compensation claim and a personal injury claim is that in the former, the responsible party-in this case the employer/insurer- is responsible for payment on a periodic and ongoing basis of wage loss benefits and medical benefits as those expenses arise. With respect to the latter, wages lost and the amount of medical expenses incurred are not paid on a periodic, ongoing basis but rather are tabulated, and included in the ultimate settlement number, or the amount awarded by a jury. The bottom line is that in a personal injury case, past medical expenses and past lost wages are included in the verdict or settlement amount. In workers’ compensation cases, those expenses have been paid, and are not included in the calculation.
In both Maryland personal injury and workers’ compensation cases, potential insurance carrier financial exposure is the driving force.
In the personal injury arena, an insurance company is going to evaluate what they might be required to pay if the case goes to court and the outcome is moderately unfavorable, favorable, or worse, for their insured. In the workers’ compensation context, an insurance company is going to examine and evaluate what their potential future exposure might be if the case remains open both in terms of additional wage loss compensation and the payment of additional medical expenses. In either type of injury case, the valuation process includes an analysis of likely or probable carrier exposure.
The workers’ compensation system does not allow direct compensation for what is commonly called “pain and suffering” Although there is no direct compensation for these non-economic damages, the workers’ compensation allows an award of compensation where the injured worker his sustain a permanent injury. This additional class of benefits is premised upon a variety of factors including the average weekly wage, medical evidence as to the nature of the impairment, and the statutory tier scheme. In a personal injury case, the potential award of significant non-economic damages is an important factor in the valuation process. In the workers' compensation arena, the possibility of permanent impairment benefits is a significant factor in case valuation. With either a worker’s compensation case or a personal injury claim, a seasoned and skilled practitioner can give you a range of value for your case, after analyzing all the pertinent factors.