by Bernard D. Nomberg, Partner, The Nomberg Law Firm

Just like some many areas of Alabama Work Comp, KGJr, SEALS and NASA are also better known by their more famous acronyms.

Navigating a workers’ compensation case can be confusing enough, but decoding the multitude of acronyms used in your case can be half the battle. Reading medical records, reading through court documents or sitting in court, you are likely to come across what looks to be a secret code of acronyms used to describe certain terms. You shouldn’t let these terms confuse or intimidate you, however. Having an understanding of the terms is essential to understanding your case.

ADA – Americans with Disabilities Act: This Act was put in place to prevent employers from discriminating against prospective, and current employees based on disability. Not only that, but the Act also requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to any employees with disabilities. Individuals covered under the ADA may also be eligible for workers’ compensation and vice versa.

AWW – Average Weekly Wage: to determine the average weekly wage, simply add up the injured worker’s wages from the 52 weeks before the accident (with the same employer) and divide by 52.

DOI – Date of injury: this term is used frequently to indicate the date in which an employee was injured on the job. The DOI can determine the amount of compensation an employer is to provide.

ERTW – Estimated Return to Work or Early Return to Work: The ERTW is the date in which it is believed the employee will be able to resume their duties. This is most often determined by the ATP: authorized treating physician.

FCE – Functional Capacity Evaluation: a physical test usually performed prior to MMI to determine if the injured worker (IW) will have work restrictions.

IME – Independent Medical Evaluation (or Examination): an examination or physical performed by a doctor, usually made at the request of the workers’ compensation carrier. The doctor performing the IME has not previously been involved in the person’s medical care. Sometimes an IME is necessary, sometimes it is not. An IME is used sometimes to try to prove an injury or symptom is not work-related.

MMI – Maximum Medical Improvement: This is a very common term in a workers’ compensation case and is used to define the point at which an injured worker’s medical condition is stable and unlikely to improve any further. Typically, an individual has reached MMI when, despite continued medical treatment and physical rehabilitation, they will no longer see any changes in their condition.

PPD – Permanent Partial Disability: The most common type of workers’ compensation claim paid to individuals not totally disabled, but who have an impairment which makes them incapable of performing at full capacity.

PTD – Permanent Total Disability: Less common, but occurs when an individual is unable to work in their previous position, or any position in which they are qualified by training, education and experience.

RTW – Return to Work: the date the injured worker returns to work.

TPD – Temporary Partial Disability: An employee who returns to work, yet earns less than what they earned before their injury is eligible to receive TPD benefits. The employee receives wage-loss at 2/3 the difference between what the employee earned at the time of injury and their current earnings.

TTD – Temporary Total Disability: An injury that does not result in death or permanent injury, but makes the employee unable to perform their regular duties. An employee receiving TTD benefits is generally given wage replacement until they are able to return to work.

UR – Utilization Review: the determination of medical necessity for medical treatment.

Keep in mind this is just a list of the most common abbreviations used in workers’ compensation. For a more extensive list of abbreviations, please consult the list below.[1] In addition, we are happy to answer any questions and explain these terms in more detail.

If you have questions about work comp, please give us a call today: (205) 930-6900.

Bernard D. Nomberg has been a lawyer for more than 20 years. Bernard has earned an AV rating from Martindale-Hubbell’s peer-review rating. He has been selected a Super Lawyer by Super Lawyers Magazine as well as a Top Lawyer by B-Metro Magazine. Bernard is the immediate past Chair of the Alabama State Bar’s Workers’ Compensation Section.

[1] https://www.acgov.org/cao/rmu/documents/Workers_Compensation_Abbreviations.pdf

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Steve Altmann has been assisting consumers and business owners with bankruptcy matters for more than 27 years. 

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