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The ABCs of Workers Compensation

The ABCs of Workers Compensation

Workers’ compensation is a unique set of laws in Alabama, with different rules and procedures from general tort law.  As such, workers compensation has developed its own linguistics and phraseology that can be confusing to lawyers who do not emphasize workers’ compensation claims in their practice-more so for injured workers.  In this first blog, we will define general terms you will likely hear during the pendency of your workers’ compensation claim; in our next blog we will deal with terms you will come across should a lawsuit have to be filed in your claim.

FCE:  Functional capacity evaluation. This is a test that is administered to see what work capacity a person has after an accident. These evaluations are somewhat controversial.

IME: Independent Medical Examination. This is an assessment performed by a physician chosen by the insurance provider, and their job is to perform an examination and opine whether they agree with the recommendation of your treating physician. The workers compensation insurance carrier does not have a right to force an injured worker to see an IME physician when the injured workers is satisfied with the treatment being provided by their authorized treating physician and the physician’s treatment is considered to be “reasonably necessary.”

MMI:  Maximum medical improvement. This is when the doctor thinks that he or she has treated you to the point where you are not likely to experience any more substantial improvements in your condition in the near future.

Mediation; A meeting with a third party acting as the mediator in which the parties attempt to settle their case outside of court.

Panel of Four; A list of four doctors that is provided to you and your attorney by which you can change doctors. This can be one of the most important selections you make in your entire case.

PT; Permanent total. This is jargon used by attorneys to describe a person who is, for all intents and purposes, not going to work again. PT does not mean someone who is totally helpless or totally unemployable.

TPD: Temporary partial disability.  This refers to benefits payable where an injured worker is still receiving treatment for their job injuries and has not yet reached maximum medical improvement, but it not earning as much as they did prior to their job injury.  TPD benefits are payable at a rate of 2/3rds of the difference.

TTD:  Temporary total disability. This refers to the period of time when someone is temporarily unable to work. A check is paid in these situations as long as a workers’ compensation physician has noted that the person is incapable of working for reasons related to a compensable workers’ compensation injury.  Your ttd check is 2/3rds of your average weekly wage.

VE:  This can refer to a vocational expert or to a vocational evaluation, which is the evaluation performed by such an expert. These experts determine what jobs you are capable of doing after your workers’ compensation injury. A vocational expert will almost certainly be present at your social security hearing.

If you were hurt at work and you have questions about your right to Alabama+ Workers Compensation benefits, don’t hesitate to contact and talk to one of the experienced Alabama Workers Compensation Attorneys at Powell and Denny today for a free consulation.  Virtual appointments are available through Zoom to better protect you during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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The ABCs of Workers Compensation

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