The legal system is full of complicated abbreviations and “legalese” that make it tough for the average person to navigate.
Workers comp is no different, with certain terms looking more complicated than they need to be.
Let’s take a look at some of the most common abbreviations you could see as you work through your workers comp case, and why they matter.
When a workers comp claim is denied, your case is decided by an administrative law judge in your state’s workers comp administration.
Average weekly wage is utilized to determine the benefits you’re entitled to (in most states). Your average weekly wage is usually determined by looking at your wages for the last year and dividing that number by 52. That number is important because your workers comp benefits tend to be given as a percentage of your AWW.
The claimant is simply you, the injured employee.
Compromise and release settlements are agreed upon by a worker, the employer, and the employer’s insurer. In these settlements, the worker agrees to shut the workers comp claim forever. In exchange, they’ll receive a lump sum payment. C&R settlements are the most common form of settlement in most states.
In a majority of states, an injured worker’s employer (or its insurance company) must file a first report of injury with that state’s workers compensation administration.
While in some states this is the official start of a claim, in other states the worker must also file a claim form with both the state agency and the employer.
This evaluation assesses whether or not the hurt employee can perform tasks related to their work, such as reaching, standing, bending, holding, etc.
An independent medical examination/evaluation assesses your condition after an injury, especially where permanent impairment is concerned.
While “independent” is right there in the name, IMEs are usually performed by doctors chosen by the insurance company, and these reports are used to dispute your claim to reduce or outright deny you benefits.
Read more about IMEs and why you should choose a doctor you trust right here.
The compensation paid to a hurt worker, either as they recover from their injury and plan to return to work, or for permanent injury.
After receiving medical treatment, your doctor will determine whether or not you are permanently impaired as a result of your injury. If so, you’ll be assigned an impairment rating (typically as a percentage) to the affected area of your body.
In several states, employers are able to coordinate workers comp injury treatments through managed care organizations, meaning you could be required to undergo treatment with a doctor in your employer’s network.
MMI refers to the point when your injury has improved as much as it possibly can through medical intervention. After reaching MMI, your doctor will then determine whether you are permanently disabled.
The medical specialty that focuses on the safety, welfare and health of employees.
A worker who is permanently impaired but still able to work in some form is considered to have a permanent partial disability.
Typically, for a worker to be considered unable to work at all, the worker would need to suffer a very serious injury such as the loss of both hands, feet, arms, legs, eyes, or any two of these body parts.
This is an injury that occurs over time as a worker repeats the same motions over and over again, such as repeatedly scanning barcodes or bending over.
The statute of limitations is your deadline for filing either your initial workers comp claim or your appeal of a denied claim.
You’re considered to have a TPD if you’re able to work in a light or modified way as you recover from your injury, and before you reach your maximum medical improvement.
Workers who are unable to perform any job-related duties while recovering from their injury are considered to have a temporary total disability.
Navigating the legal terminology associated with workers compensation cases can often feel like reading a foreign language, but hopefully this article has cleared up a lot of confusion already.
If you’re still looking for an edge in getting the compensation you deserve, working with the right legal team can make a world of difference—especially a firm like Davis & Sanchez, who only take on workers comp cases.
Not sure if you actually have a case? No problem. Download our free PDF and find out if you have a solid workers comp case. The PDF is 100% free and will be immediately sent to your email inbox.