Legal jargon is confusing. That’s why having a competent workers’ compensation lawyer is such a crucial component to winning a workers’ compensation case. This not only ensures that the worker is properly represented, but also that he or she has a thorough understanding of what everything means. Below are some workers’ compensation legal terms as well as some definitions to provide a better understanding of what these terms signify.
Aggravation: An aggravation is any work-related injury that worsens a pre-existing condition.
Average Weekly Wage (AWW): The Average Weekly Wage refers to the average amount of money an employee receives each week. This average is calculated based on what the employee has earned within the past year, starting with the date of injury.
Compensation Rate: This is the amount of the injured employee’s weekly compensation check.
Earning Power: Earning power describes the part an injury plays in determining the employee’s wages. Examples include having no income as a result of not working and having a reduced income as a result of working less hours.
Good Faith: Pennsylvania workers’ compensation law expects the employer, the employee, attorneys, and all others involved with a workers’ compensation case to be fair, honest, and to consider the other party’s needs as equally as his or her own.
Independent Medical Exam: An independent medical exam is the right of the insurance carrier to have the injured worker examined by a doctor of the insurance company’s choosing. For more information about independent medical exams, check out our Video FAQ page.
Notice of Compensation Denial: This is the form an injured worker receives when either the employer or the insurance company denies the claim. Upon receiving a notice of compensation denial, it is imperative that the receiver contacts a workers’ compensation lawyer as soon as possible.
Occupational Disease: An occupational disease is any illness contracted by an employee during his or her employment. One common example is miner’s lung.
Partial Disability: This is when an injured worker is working less hours and/or performing different duties and, as a result, receiving less money because of his or her injury.
Pre-Existing Condition: Pre-existing conditions cover the previous physical state of the injured worker, regardless of whether or not the condition is work-related.
Work Capacity: This is the type and amount of work an injured worker is allowed to perform, depending on the severity of the injury as well whether or not the type of work could worsen the injury.
Remember, anyone whose workers’ compensation case has been denied should seek professional legal counsel as soon as possible.