As a follow up to Important Workers Compensation Terms Defined (Part 1), below are some additional terms associated with workers compensation that will be helpful to anyone who is going through the filing process.
- Temporary disability benefits: These are benefits paid to workers who have been injured on the job and, as a result, miss more than three days (or three shifts) at work. While workers are typically not compensated for the first three days of work missed, they can collect benefits for this missed work if they ultimately are out of work for more than two weeks. Generally, the amount of temporary disability benefits will be approximate 66 percent of an employee’s weekly wage (up to a maximum amount).
- Maximum medical improvement: This refers to a determination that an injured worker has recovered as much as possible with the help of medical treatment and that additional medical treatment would not be expected to offer any further improvements to the injury in question. While the condition may (or may not) improve or worsen with time, this fact does not play a role in making a decision of maximum medical improvement.
- Permanent Partial Disability: This refers to the condition of having an irreversible impairment, such as the loss of vision in one eye, hearing loss, etc., that was caused by a workplace injury and that can be officially diagnosed according to the standards set by the American Medical Association’s Guide to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment. Claims filed by injured workers seeking benefits for a permanent partial disability will classified as either “scheduled injuries” or “non-scheduled injuries.”
- Administrative Hearing: This is a formal proceeding during which the issues of a case are presented, evidence (including witness statements) is brought before the judge and the judge makes a final ruling as to the outcome of the case.
- Prehearing & Settlement Conference: The prehearing refers to an informal meeting between a judge and all parties of a case; during this meeting, the issues of the case may be discussed, concerns may be exchanged and documents pertaining to the case may be shared among the parties (if the judge decides they should be). If both parties agree to a settlement conference, then the judge and both parties will meet in an effort to try to resolve the issues of the case. Settlement conferences proceed much as mediation proceedings do, and the judge in these conferences is bound to confidentiality for all matters discussed during the conference.