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Common Workers' Comp Terms Explained

If you are considering filing a workers’ compensation claim or are in the midst of one, it is crucial to acquaint yourself with some of the most frequently used terms you are likely to encounter throughout the process. Your attorney will be to answer any questions you might have, but educating yourself puts you one step ahead and can only benefit the outcome of your case.

Here are some of the most frequently used terms in workers’ compensation cases and their definitions:

  • Accident: An event that occurs in the course of employment, resulting in an injury or injuries to the employee.
  • Accident, Notice and Causal Relationship (ANCR): Before financial responsibility can be assigned to a claim for workers’ compensation, certain conditions must be met, which include: establishing that a work-related accident covered by Workers’ Compensation Law occurred, the claimant notified the employer within the required timeframe, and a causal relationship exists between the accident and a resulting injury.
  • Average Weekly Wage (AWW) for Workers’ Compensation Claims: The wage used to calculate total disability benefit rates for most claimants, which is generally defined as 1/52nd of the injured worker’s average annual earnings and based on the prior year’s payroll data. In cases where an injured worker has not worked a significant portion of the preceding year, the average wage of a comparably employed worker would be used for calculations.
  • Board Panel: Typically comprised of three Workers’ Compensation Board members, one of which must be an attorney, this panel reviews requests made by Workers’ Compensation Law Judge, reopens closed cases and reviews applications for lump sum adjustment awards.
  • Claim: Injured workers must file a claim within a two-year timeframe, beginning on the date of the occurrence of the accident or knowledge of the occupational disablement. Failure to do so might bar an award for compensation.
  • Dependent: An individual who is eligible to receive death benefits in a fatal injury case. Surviving widows or children under 18 years of age are eligible for benefits without proving dependency. Dependent handicapped children over the age of 18, grandchildren, siblings under the age of 18, and dependent parents or grandparents might also be eligible recipients if their dependency is established.
  • Indemnity Benefits: This refers to compensation that is paid to the workers’ compensation claimants for non-medical loss caused by injury or illness. The following are permitted by Workers’ Compensation Law: temporary total disability benefits, temporary partial disability benefits, facial disfigurement awards, permanent partial disability benefits, permanent total disability benefits, death benefits.
  • Lost Time: The period of total wage loss and lost earning capacity, beyond the statutory waiting period, which is caused by the worker’s job-related disability. If the disability exceeds 14 days, compensation is paid from the first day of disability.
  • Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI): Maximum medical improvement is generally a precondition for determining the permanent disability level of a claimant. It occurs when the claimant has recovered from the work injury to the greatest extent expected.
  • Tentative Rate: The assigned weekly rate dictated by the Workers’ Compensation Board for indemnity payments, pending the final adjudication of outstanding issues that relate to benefit rates.

Orange County Workers’ Compensation Lawyers

At Humphrey & Associates, our Orange County team of workers’ compensation lawyers are dedicated to helping victims of work-related injuries fight for the benefits they need. Workers’ compensation laws are intricate and complicated, but our attorneys can guide you through every step of the process. We have effectively represented workers in a wide range of workers’ compensation claims, including those involving catastrophic injuries, construction accidents, brain injuries, toxic exposure, and more.

From the initial application all the way to appealing a denied workers’ compensation claim, we are here for you. Our team will make sure the insurance companies do what is right, and keep them from taking advantage of you.

Get started on your case today and contact us at (844) 612-5800 to schedule a free initial consultation. If you cannot meet with us, we can travel out to you.