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Need-to-Know Workers’ Compensation Terms


If you’ve recently filed or are getting ready to file a workers’ compensation claim, you may have already encountered a few unfamiliar terms and/or acronyms that have the potential to affect your claim.

In the complicated world of workers’ compensation, understanding specific terms helps you communicate effectively and strengthen your claim when possible. We’ve come up with common workers’ compensation vocabulary words to help you become fully prepared and well informed.

Average Weekly Wage (AWW)


Insurance companies use an average weekly wage calculation to determine the rate at which you will be paid for lost wages due to a disability. Typically, workers’ compensation payouts come to about two-thirds of an employee’s average weekly wage.

Compromise and Release (C&R)

This is one way to settle a workers’ compensation claim outside of court. In exchange for closing your claim permanently, your employer’s insurance company will write you a check for an agreed-upon amount to cover whatever costs are outlined in your claim. Once the claim is closed, however, it can’t be reopened if, say, your condition worsens in two weeks. You give up your right to ask for more money for the same injury later on.

Federal Employees Compensation Act (FECA)


This is the law that established the federal workers’ compensation program. If you’re injured or disabled while working for the federal government, your compensation will be handled a little differently than under a typical insurance company.

First Report of Injury (FROI)


The official start of a workers’ compensation claim is when your employer submits a Report of Injury to the Indiana Workers’ Compensation Board. They are required to do so whenever an employee is injured and out of work for more than a day.

Functional Capacity Evaluation (FCE)


Your treating doctor (the company doctor, usually) reports your functional capacity as part of the workers’ compensation claim. This report lets your employer know how well you can perform physical work-related tasks such as sitting, standing, or lifting.

Independent Medical Examination (IME)


Sometimes, insurance companies ask an employee to receive a medical examination from a doctor of their own choosing, usually in an attempt to reduce the amount they will have to pay the employee. These examinations tend to apply mostly to permanent disability claims.

Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI)


In short, MMI is the point at which a patient stops improving in the course of a treatment plan. For workers’ compensation purposes, it can be strategic to avoid settling your claim until your doctor reports you’ve reached MMI. This way, you can be sure to account for every possible medical cost in your claim.

Repetitive Stress Injury (RSI)


Workers’ compensation doesn’t just apply to people who fall off ladders or inhale harmful chemicals; it also covers repetitive stress injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome. You should check with your doctor to confirm that the injury was more than likely caused by work before filing a workers’ compensation claim with your employer.

Insight from an Indiana Workers’ Compensation Attorney

We’ve tried to provide a glimpse into the technical terms that power the workers’ compensation process, but there’s no way we could cover everything here. Everyone’s story is different, and it takes personal attention to help make these concepts clear.

That’s why Hensley Legal Group’s worker’s compensation attorneys offer a free conversation to help you decide if pursuing a claim or lawsuit is right for you. Call us today or contact us online to learn more.