What is an “Award of Compensation” in Maryland Workers’ Comp
If the insurer does not contest your claim, the Commission issues either a Compensation Deferred and Average Weekly Wage Award or an Award of Compensation and Average Weekly Wage. This is an “auto award” that is based solely on the information listed on the employee’s claim form. If the information on the employee claim form is incorrect, such as the average weekly wage, then the information in the auto award will likewise be incorrect.
You Still May Not be Paid Your Benefits
Based on the auto award, the Commission finds that you sustained a compensable work-related injury, and that your injury is a result of your employment. An Award of Compensation and Average Weekly Wage, will also state that the insurer must pay TTD benefits. However, because this is an auto order, the Employer/Insurer will not pay TTD benefits if one of the following things applies:
- You were paid by the Employer for any time that was missed, or
- You do not have a doctor’s note to support your lost time from work (get one!), or
- You were released to work light duty by your physician, but refused (don’t do that!)
Under any circumstances, you will want to speak to a lawyer who knows how to handle workers’ comp cases.
The Average Weekly Wage and TTD Rate
Importantly, the average weekly wage does not become final until the first hearing before the Commission, so the auto award will often times list an incorrect average weekly wage. This will cause the TTD rate to also be incorrect. Therefore, even though this is an appealable order being issued by the Commission, it has no real value other than to say that the claim was accepted by the Employer/Insurer.
It’s Not Final
In other words, do not be excited or dismayed by the Award of Compensation. It’s automatically generated and not looked at by a person. It’s a part of your comp case, but only a tiny part. Benefits can still be disputed by an employer and shortages in average weekly wage can still be corrected.