Workers’ Compensation can be a complicated area of law. If you have a work-related injury or illness, you may face all sorts of legal tests and requirements, in order to receive workers’ comp benefits. During your case, you might also run into lots of legal and medical terms related to the types of injuries, benefits, and various steps in the process. Here’s a glossary of some of the most common acronyms used in workers’ comp cases:
ADL (activities of daily living) – the activities you do in your personal life (as opposed to work activities that are part of your job) that may be affected by your work injury. ADLs include dressing, showering, eating and preparing food, driving, shopping, cleaning, and maintaining your home and yard.
[OMITTED ALJ because ALJs preside over other types of cases, not South Carolina Workers’ Compensation cases. Commissioners preside over SC Workers’ Comp cases.]
[OMITTED AOE/COE (arising out of employment and occurring in the course of employment) because this is not an acronym in SCWC law]
[OMITTED AWL (actual wage loss) because this is not an acronym in SCWC law]
AWW (average weekly wages) – the average of your weekly gross earnings (amount before taxes) during the four quarters prior to the quarter in which your work accident occurred. If you did not work during this entire time period, your AWW is based on the actual time you worked before your work accident, not including the pay period during which your accident occurred. If these methods of calculation do not produce a fair result, the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission may recognize an alternative method of calculation.
[OMIT COLA (cost of living adjustment) – because this term does not apply to SCWC. In fact, once the AWW/CR get set, it never changes, even if the claim takes years to conclude. An injured worker never gets a “raise.”]
CR (compensation rate) –⅔ of your AWW. The CR is the amount of your weekly checks, if you miss work, due to your work injury.
CRPS (complex regional pain syndrome) – prolonged severe pain that usually affects an arm, hand, leg, or foot after an injury.
[OMITTED CT (cumulative trauma) because this is not a term used in SCWC]
CTS (carpal tunnel syndrome) – a painful condition caused by restriction or compression of a nerve in a wrist, which can make gripping or using your fingers and hand difficult. CTS is often caused by repeated movements of the wrist or use of vibrating tools at work.
[OMITTED DOA – because this is not a term used in SCWC
DOI – date of your work-related injury.
E/C (employer/carrier) – The ”carrier” is the insurance company that provided workers’ comp insurance coverage for your employer at the time of your work accident. During a workers’ comp claim, the insurance carrier makes most–if not all–of the decisions associated with the E/C related to your claim. The E/C is considered the “defendant” to your claim. [E/C is actually not a term recognized by the SCWC, although the information in this paragraph is correct.]
[OMITTED FEC (future earning capacity) – because this is not a term used in SCWC
FCE (functional capacity evaluation) – a type of test used to determine if you have physical limitations as a result of your injury that could affect your ability to work.
[OMITTED FL (functional limitation) – because this is not a term used in SCWC
[OMITTED HCO (health care organization) – because this is not a term pertinent in SCWC. Also, if a claim is admitted, the employer/carrier (defendants) gets to direct the medical treatment (choose the doctors), by statute.]
IME (independent medical examination) – a physical examination with a physician other than the doctor who’s treating your work-related injuries. An IME is frequently involved when there’s a medical dispute in your workers’ comp case.
[OMITTED LDP (last day paid) because it’s not a term used in SCWC]
[LD (light duty) because it’s not a term used in SCWC]
[OMITTED LDW (last day worked) – because it’s not a term used in SCWC]
[OMITTED LEC (loss of earning capacity) – because it’s not a term used in SCWC]
[OMITTED LT (lost time) – because it’s not a term used in SCWC
[OMITTED MCO (managed care organization) – because it’s not a term used in SCWC]
MMI (maximum medical improvement) – the stage in your recovery from a work-related injury or illness when your doctor says that your medical condition isn’t likely to get better, even with further treatment. The South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission and South Carolina Courts recognize MMI as the point in medical treatment when no additional medical treatment might tend to lessen the period of your disability. [OMIT THE FOLLOWING BECAUSE IT’S NOT A TERM USED IN SCWC also known as “permanent and stationary” (P&S) this is generally the point when doctors will decide if you have any permanent disability (PD discussed below)]
[OMIT MD (modified work duties) –because it’s not a term used in SCWC. In fact, the “MD” often actually means “medical doctor.”
[OMIT ND (non-work disability) – because it’s not a term used in SCWC]
[OMIT OD (occupational disease) – because it’s not a term used in SCWC]
[OMIT ODNCR (occupational disease, notice, and causal relationship) – because it’s not a term used in SCWC]
[OMIT PD (permanent disability) – because it’s not a term used in SCWC]
PPD (permanent partial disability) – a lasting physical or mental limitation from your work-related injury that doesn’t prevent you from working altogether, but may reduce your earnings. PPD also refers to the benefits for a partial disability.
[OMIT PPO (preferred provider organization) – because it’s not a term used in SCWC]
[OMIT P&S (permanent and stationary) – because it’s not a term used in SCWC]
PT (physical therapy)
PTD (permanent total disability) – a lifelong disability that prevents you from working completely. PTD does not require abject helplessness, just a very significant limitation on your ability to return to work, post-work accident. An vocational expert must evaluate you for PTD eligibility.;
[OMIT QME (qualified medical exam) –because it’s not a term used in SCWC]
[OMIT RFC (residual functional capacity) – because it’s not a term used in SCWC]
ROM (Range of Motion)
[OMIT RSI (repetitive stress injury) – because it’s not a term used in SCWC]
[OMIT SAWW (statewide average weekly wage) – because it’s not a term used in SCWC]
SCWCC –South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission, which is the Court in workers’ compensation cases.
SOL (statute of limitations) – the legal time limit for filing a workers’ comp claim. In South Carolina, the SOL related to workers’ compensation claims is two years from the date of accident.
SSDI (Social Security Disability Insurance) – Federal benefits provided by the Social Security Administration to certain disabled workers. Some injured workers may be eligible to receive both workers’ comp PPD or PTD benefits and SSDI benefits.
[OMIT TD (temporary disability) – because it’s not a term used in SCWC]
TPD (temporary partial disability) – a medical condition resulting from your work-related injury or illness that doesn’t prevent you from working during the recovery from your work accident but limits your earnings or ability to perform all your job tasks. TPD is also the amount of money you receive between the date you are hurt at work and the date you reach MMI, if you experience a reduction in your AWW because of your work accident.
TTD (temporary total disability) – disability or injury that completely prevents you from working while recovering from a work-related injury. TTD is also the amount of money you are entitled to receive between the date you are hurt at work and the date you reach MMI, if your doctor says you are unable to work, at all, because of your work accident, or if your doctor says you are able to work with restrictions, and your employer can’t or won’t make work available to you within those restrictions
[OMIT UI (unemployment insurance) – because it is not a term used in SCWC
[OMIT VR (vocational rehabilitation) – because it is not a term used in SCWC
WC (workers’ compensation)
[OMIT WCAB (worker compensation appeals board) –because it is not a term used in SCWC
[OMIT WD (work disability) – because it is not a term used in SCWC