Workers' Compensation Terminology
The workers’ compensation system is complex and full of new—and potentially intimidating—terminology. However, understanding the workers’ compensation terminology is an important step in filing a claim. At the Olsinski Law Firm, PLLC, our approachable North Carolina workers’ comp lawyers understand that most of our clients have never filed a workers’ compensation claim. Thus, we take as much time as necessary to familiarize you with the process and terminology to ensure you are comfortable at every step of the process.Common Workers’ Compensation Terminology
Below is a list of some of the most commonly used terms in workers’ compensation cases:Average Weekly Wage (AWW)
While the concept of average weekly wage is simple in theory, employers and their insurance companies sometimes get it wrong. For most occupations, an injured workers’ average weekly wage is their earnings over the last 52 weeks divided by 52. When calculating your AWW, you include all overtime, bonuses and commissions you earned. Your AWW will determine your workers’ compensation benefit amount.Industrial Commission
The North Carolina Industrial Commission (NCIC) is the state agency overseeing the North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act. The NCIC resolves any workers’ compensation dispute. If either side does not like the outcome, they may then be able to appeal the NCIC’s decision to a court of law.Workers’ Compensation Lien
Workers’ compensation liens don’t come up in every case. However, say obtain workers’ compensation benefits and then bring a personal injury lawsuit against a non-employer based on a workplace accident. If you succeed in your third-party personal injury claim, your employer or their insurance company can seek reimbursement for the benefits they paid to you. In some cases, a skilled North Carolina workers’ compensation lawyer can get workers’ compensation liens reduced or even eliminated.Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI)
Maximum medical improvement is a term used to describe the point at which no further medical care will improve your condition. Once you reach your MMI, the workers’ compensation doctor may either release you to regular work or assign you a disability rating along with work restrictions. If you receive a disability rating, you can apply for Permanent Partial Disability benefits.Permanent Partial Disability (PPD)
Permanent Partial Disability benefits are paid once you reach your MMI if you are unable to return to work in the same capacity. For example, if you had to take a different position due to your ongoing limitations. You may also receive scheduled benefits for injuries affecting certain parts of the body.Temporary Partial Disability (TPD)
Temporary Partial Disability benefits are payable to workers whose injuries result in them earning less money but don’t prevent them from working altogether. TPD benefits are calculated by taking two-thirds of your Average Weekly Wage. You can obtain TPD benefits in addition to whatever earnings you make.Temporary Total Disability (TTD)
Temporary Total Disability benefits are awarded to injured workers who are completely able to work. TTD benefits are based on your Average Weekly Wage and can last for up to 500 weeks. However, injured workers who still cannot work at the end of this period can ask the Industrial Commission to extend their benefits.Do You Have Questions About Workers’ Compensation Terminology or How You Can Obtain Benefits?
If you have recently been injured in a North Carolina workplace accident, reach out to the dedicated workers’ compensation lawyers at the Olsinski Law Firm, PLLC. At the Olsinski Law Firm, PLLC, our knowledgeable team of North Carolina workers’ comp lawyers have decades of experience helping workers navigate the workers’ compensation system in pursuit of the benefits they need and deserve. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation with a Charlotte workers’ compensation lawyer, give us a call at 704-405-2580. You can also reach one of our Concord workers’ compensation lawyers at 704-918-4747. We take all workers’ compensation cases on a contingency basis, meaning we will not bill you for our services unless we can connect you with compensation for what you’ve been through.