North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Glossary

No one plans to become injured at work; however, sometimes an accident at the workplace can result in an injured employee. Workplace injury victims are often unsure of how they should proceed in pursuing compensation for their losses, so it is a good idea for injured workers to seek legal counsel to help with their claim.

If you or a loved one has been injured on the job, complete the form on the right to schedule a Free Case Evaluation!

When filing for workers’ compensation, you will be contacted by the insurance company. Insurance adjusters have their own jargon that the average person may not understand. Additionally, there may be terms during the legal process which are familiar to the workers compensation lawyer but that victims may have trouble understanding.

Important Terms to Know:

  • Adjuster: Person responsible for the handling of claim for Workers’ Compensation Carrier/Insurer.
  • Average Weekly Wage (AWW): Is determined by the employee’s actual earnings in the employment in which he/she was injured during the 52 weeks, or such lesser period as he/she may have worked, immediately preceding his/her injury.
  • Carrier (Insurer): Insurance company for the employer. An employer is required to provide WC coverage if they employee more than three workers. Our office does not generally handle claims unless the employer is insured.
  • Change of Condition: A claim for additional compensation may be made within two years of the last payment if accepted payment for rating on a Form 21 or Form 26 agreement. This is not applicable if the claimant settled on a clincher.
  • Clincher: A written agreement by both parties to settle the case with the terms of settlement specified within.
  • Contentions: A document written by the attorney in an effort to make arguments on behalf of the claimant in order to persuade a favorable decision by the deputy commissioner.
  • Deposition: A recorded interview of questions regarding the client’s case of a particular witness, doctor, etc., where both the claimant and the defendant’s attorneys are present.
  • Deputy Commissioner: One who represents the NCIC and hear both sides of the case and makes a determination on the liability with the evidence presented to him/her.
  • Discovery: Questions written by one party directed to the other party. These questions have to be responded to within 30 days. See Interrogatories.
  • Functional Capacity Evaluation (FCE): A physical test given to the claimant in order to determine their permanent restrictions.
  • Hearing: A court appearance before a judge to plead both parties’ sides to the case in order to persuade a decision in favor of the claimant.
  • Interrogatories: Questions written by one party directed to the other party. These questions have to be responded to within 30 days. See Discovery.
  • Maximum Medical Improvement: When all avenues of treatment for the claimant’s injuries are exhausted and the treating physician release them from their care.
  • Mediation: A meeting between both parties in hopes to resolve particular issues in a case or reach a full settlement.
  • Mediator: A non-biased person who monitors the actions taken in a mediation.
  • Medical Rehabilitation Specialist: A case manager or coordinator of the planning coordination of health care services appropriate to achievement of the goal of medical rehabilitation.
  • North Carolina Industrial Commission (NCIC): The governing body over the NC workers’ compensation acts and rules.
  • Permanent Partial Disability (PPD): A percentage rating that the treating doctor may or will assign to the injured body part at the end of your recovery when you have reached maximum medical improvement. This can be a total loss or partial loss of the use of body part(s).
  • Retaliatory Discrimination Complaint: A form that the claimant can fill out through the NC Department of Labor when they feel that they were wrongfully discharged from employment.
  • Statute of Limitations: The deadline of two years for filing a Form 18 with the NCIC. After the time period set out in the applicable statute of limitations has run, no legal actions can be brought regardless of whether any cause of action ever existed.
  • Temporary Partial Disability (TPD): When or if the claimant goes back to work making less money than before they were injured, the law in North Carolina allows you to elect to receive this weekly payment of 2/3’s of the difference in the two wages.
  • Temporary Total Disability (TTD): Payment of 2/3’s of the average weekly wage to the claimant while written out of work by the treating physician.
  • Vocational Rehabilitation Specialist: A coordinator of the services under an individualized plan designed to achieve the goal of vocational rehabilitation.