It’s easy to get confused by all the legal terminology when a work injury happens. Lawyers, insurance companies, and referees understand these shorthand terms, but most workers do not have any idea what these abbreviations mean and how they affect a claim.
Most important abbreviations to know for your case
Here are some of the often-used workers’ compensation abbreviations and acronyms used in Pennsylvania cases:
ALJ: Administrative law judge. If you lose your initial hearing before the workers’ compensation referee, you have the right to appeal your loss. The appeal is heard by a panel of administrative law judges.
AWW: Average weekly wage. Employees are generally entitled to 2/3 of their average weekly wages until they can return to work. In permanent injury cases, or death cases, the average weekly wage is paid according to scheduled guidelines. The AWW is generally the yearly salary of a worker divided by 52.
FCE: Functional capacity evaluation. An FCE is a series of tests that the employee takes to determine his/her ability to do certain job tasks. Workers are measured on their ability to lift, reach, stand, bend, hold, and do other actions.
IME: Independent medical examination. Normally, the injured worker treats with a doctor approved by the employer. In time, the worker can switch and see doctors of the employee’s choosing. The IME is a medical examination that is requested by the employer or the employer’s insurance company to determine if the employee’s injuries still exist and/or to determine if the employee is ready to return to work.
MMI: Maximum medical improvement. After a series of treatments, the worker reaches the point where additional medical treatment cannot improve his/her condition. Once a worker has reached maximum medical improvement, the insurance company will try to stop paying for any more medial visits. When the worker reaches his/her MMI, a determination is usually made as to whether the worker can return to work or if the worker has a permanent impairment.
PPD: Permanent partial disability. Once the worker has reached his/her maximum medical improvement, there should be a review of the worker’s medical condition. If the worker can return to work but has permanently lost the ability to use some part of his/her body, the employee is entitled to permanent partial disability payments. PPD payments are the average weekly wage multiplied by a preset number of weeks. Pennsylvania has a schedule that determines how many weeks of PPD payments a worker can get depending on which body part now can’t be used.
PTD: Permanent total disability. PTD payments are made if it can be shown that the worker, after he/she has reached maximum medical improvement, is no longer able to work in any capacity.
SOL: Statute of limitations. This is the time limit for bringing the workers’ compensation case. Cases brought after the SOL has expired will be dismissed.
TPD: Temporary partial disability. Some employees can return to work, but are unable to perform their job as they could before the accident – and are therefore paid a lower wage. For example, a worker who did heavy lifting may be restricted to light duty work. TPD benefits pay 2/3 of the difference in average weekly wages (before and after the accident).
TTD: Temporary total disability. Employees who are unable to work while they are getting medical help have a temporary total disability and are entitled to 2/3 of their average weekly wage up until the time they can return to work or the time they reach maximum medical improvement.
At Larry Pitt & Associates, we guide injured workers through each stage of the Pennsylvania workers’ compensation process. This guidance includes explaining your rights, informing you of the legal process, and answering all your questions regarding legal terms including workers’ compensation abbreviations and acronyms. Our Philadelphia workers’ compensation attorneys know how anxious and upsetting it can be to be injured, unsure of your health, and out of work. To speak with a caring lawyer, please call 888.PITT.LAW or fill out our contact form to schedule an appointment. We fight for workers injured in Berks, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia Counties.