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DEFINITIONS ASSOCIATED WITH WORKER’S COMPENSATION

On Behalf of | Oct 2, 2020 | Personal Injury, Workers Compensation

No matter what causes you to file a workers’ compensation claim, you know you will need the assistance of an experienced personal lawyer to ensure a successful outcome to your case. But when you visit with your injury attorney, you may have a hard time following along especially if the terminology is confusing. Rather than remain confused, you can familiarize yourself with many of the common terms. In this blog, we list various legal terms and phrases you may hear as you continue to meet with your workers’ compensation lawyer.

Accepted Claim

This is a claim that an insurance company covers under workers’ compensation. Even if a claim has been accepted (or admitted), other factors may delay benefits and compensation.

Americans With Disabilities Act

This federal law states that employers cannot discriminate against individuals based on any type of disability. If you were injured while at work, this act will protect your right to work for other employers in the future.

Appeal

This can also be called “reconsideration.” If your original claim is denied, you have the right to appeal the judge’s decision. The appeals board (a group of commissioners) will review your case and reconsider the judge’s decision.

Applicant

Typically the person who was injured and has filed a workers’ compensation claim. In some cases, a family member may be considered the applicant if he or she files a claim on behalf of the injured individual. Also referred to as “claimant.”

Application for Adjudication of Claim

Or, simply put, an application. The applicant fills out this form to when he or she files a claim with the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board in his or her state of residence.

Apportionment

A process that determines how much permanent disability was caused by a work-related injury or incident.

Benefit Notice

A required form insurance companies send to a claimant; it will detail the benefits the claimant is eligible to receive.

Claims Adjuster

This person will work for the insurance company and will manage all aspects of a claim. Claims adjusters can also work for third parties associated with the claim.

Commutation

A judge-ordered, lump sum payment of compensation for permanent disability. The judge may order the payment to be made in full or in parts.

Cumulative Injury

An injury caused by continuous exposure or repeated incidents in the workplace. For example, moving your hands in the same motion every day can cause a cumulative injury to your wrist.

Delay Letter

Insurance companies send this type of letter to a claimant, explaining why payments or benefits have been delayed. The letter outlines additional steps a claimant must take (and information he or she must provide) before payments can be sent or before benefits can be awarded.

Discrimination Claim

If an applicant files a workers’ compensation claim and then gets fired for doing so, the applicant can file this petition (which is also called a “retaliation claim”) with the Labor Commissioner.

Dispute

A disagreement between the claimant and the insurance company regarding the claimant’s benefits, payments, and other related compensation.

Future Medical

An applicant’s right to receive continued medical treatment for work-related injuries in the future.

Impairment Rating

An estimate of how much normal use an applicant loses in a specific body part. This is determined by guidelines the American Medical Association’s set. Medical professionals will also use this estimate to calculate an applicant’s permanent disability rating.

Medical-Legal Report

Medical professionals compile these reports to settle disputes in workers’ compensation claims. Information in these reports includes any details relating to a claimant’s injury and medical condition.

Objective Factors

Observations, test results, and measurements that a qualified medical expert says contribute to a claimant’s permanent disability.

OSHA

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration. This organization inspects work environments and establishes safety protocols to protect employees from injury and harm.

Permanent Disability Rating

This rating refers to any remaining disability a claimant has after he or she has completed all necessary treatment and therapy for an injury.

Specific Injury

An injury a claimant sustains from one specific event in the workplace. For example, if a claimant slips and falls in a puddle of water and injures his or her leg, the resulting injury would be referred to as a specific injury in the claim.

Subjective Factors

Any pain, suffering, and other related factors an applicant experiences as a result of an injury and that contribute to permanent disability. Typically, a medical professional will report these findings in the medical-legal report. However, objective factors have more weight in a workers’ compensation claim than subjective factors do.

Utilization Review

The process insurance companies use to decide if they will authorize treatment and pay for the associated expenses.

Work Restrictions

The restrictions a doctor sets to prevent a claimant from further injuring himself or herself while at work.

 

Now that you have a better understanding of what some of the common workers’ compensation terms mean, you can approach your claim with confidence. You can more easily understand the legalities surrounding your case with this glossary as your aid.

As you meet with your workers’ compensation attorney, keep these terms in mind. This list only mentions a few terms, so if you hear a phrase that you don’t quite understand, ask your lawyer to explain it to you. He or she has the responsibility to ensure that you understand every aspect of your case. If you need an experience attorney who handles workers compensation claims, call Hardee Massey & Blodgett, LLP.

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