Workers' Compensation Glossary of Terms

North Carolina Workers' Compensation Terms

Death Benefits — Benefits a spouse or family member may be eligible to receive if an employee dies as the result of a work-related accident or injury.

Disfigurement — Additional compensation an employee may receive due to scarring or damage to internal organs not specifically covered under the "permanent partial disability" (PPD) rules that detail ratings.

Injury by Accident — One of the three basic ways a person can become eligible for NC Workers' Compensation. Injury by Accident is the interruption of the regular work routine due to an unusual circumstance, such as a construction worker falling off of a roof and injuring his back.

North Carolina Board Certified Specialists — Lawyers certified by the North Carolina State Bar as having demonstrated special knowledge, skill and proficiency in a specific area of law.

North Carolina Industrial Commission — The administrative body charged with administering and enforcing workers' compensation laws. It rules on and administers the North Carolina Workers' Compensation Act as provided for by the North Carolina General Assembly.

Occupational Disease — One of the three basic ways a person can become eligible for NC Workers' Compensation. Unless specifically listed in the statute, an illness is considered to be an "occupational disease" if the worker's employment was; (1) a significant factor in the disease's development and; (2) exposed the worker to a greater risk of contracting the disease than the public generally.

Permanent Partial Disability (PPD) — Benefits which employees may be entitled to if they have sustained a permanent disability to certain body parts. Benefits for less than the total loss of a body part are calculated by the treating physician on a percentage basis. This calculation is referred to as a "PPD rating."

PPD Rating — The percentage of disability an injured person experiences to a specific body part as determined by the treating physician.

Specific Traumatic Injury — One of the three basic ways a person can become eligible for NC Workers' Compensation. An exception to the doctrine of injury by accident in which a person can get compensation for performing a normal task, but sustain a neck or back injury in a specific incident that may not be an accident.

Temporary Partial Disability (TPD) — A form of NC Workers' Compensation benefits that employees may be entitled to receive after they have returned to work, but are earning less than they were prior to the injury because of a reduced rate of pay or fewer hours.

Temporary Total Disability (TTD) — NC Workers' Compensation benefits that are payable when an employee becomes totally disabled on a temporary basis as a result of workplace activities. These benefits are equivalent to 2/3 of the employee's gross average weekly wage (wages before taxes and other deductions), up to the maximum set by the North Carolina Industrial Commission (NCIC).

Total and Permanent Disability — Benefits which may be potentially paid to the employee for a lifetime when the employee's injury renders him or her unable to return to any form of suitable employment.

Vocational Rehabilitation (Voc Rehab.) — Services designed to allow injured employees who cannot return to their former employment to retrain, locate and obtain suitable employment. These may include (among other things):

  • On-the-job training
  • Transferable skills analysis and testing
  • Resume, interviewing and job application services
  • Job search assistance
  • Education and tuition payment for retraining

Workers' Compensation — Workers' Compensation (also known as Workman's Comp, Workmen's Comp, Workers Comp, Workers' Comp, Work Comp, Worker Comp, or even simply WC) is the legal system that provides monetary and non-monetary benefits as well as medical benefits to employees who experience work-related injuries or occupational diseases. Workers' Compensation laws apply to any employer with three or more employees, subject to limited exceptions.

Medical Terms

ACL — The Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) of the knee. One of two cruciate ligaments (along with the PCL) located in the center of the knee joint. The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and the posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) are the major stabilizing ligaments of the knee.

Artificial Disc Replacement — In an artificial disc replacement, an injured spinal disc is replaced with an artificial one.

Bulging disc — See "herniated disc"

Chondromalacia — A knee disorder caused by the softening of the articular cartilage (cartilage relating to bones) of the kneecap.

Fusion Surgery (Spinal Fusion) — A back operation in which two or more vertebra are combined.

Herniated disc — Between each bone in the spine (vertebra) lies a disc made up of cartilage, which cushions against shock and provides flexibility. When a disc ruptures or herniates, its soft jelly-like inner layer leaks out or "bulges" through a weak area in the outer layer. Sometimes the disc will press on nerves in the spinal column, causing pain, tingling and/or numbness and in some cases, nerve damage.

Laminectomy — A back operation in which the lamina (part of the bony root) of the vertebra is removed or trimmed to create more space for spinal nerves. A common form of this surgery permits the removal or reshaping of the disc.

Lumbar spine — Also known as the "low back" or "lower back." Injuries to this area can cause radiating pain, tingling and numbness in the buttocks, legs and feet, a condition sometimes called sciatica.

MCL — The Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL) of the knee. It spans the distance from the end of the thigh bone to the top of the shin bone and is on the inside of the knee joint. It resists widening of the inside of the joint and preventing "opening-up" of the knee.

Meniscus Injuries — A knee injury. The meniscus is a tough area of cartilage that rests between the knee bones. Their purpose is to distribute the body's weight evenly across the knee joint. Meniscus tears can cause intense pain and instability (a feeling of "giving way") in the knee depending on the severity of the tear.

Micro-discectomy — A back operation in which a small part of the bone over the nerve root and/or disc material from under the nerve root is removed to provide more room for the nerve to heal.

PCL — The Posterior Cruciate Ligament (PCL) of the knee. One of two cruciate ligaments (along with the ACL) located in the center of the knee joint. The posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) and the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) are the major stabilizing ligaments of the knee.

Ruptured disc — See "herniated disc."

Sciatica — An injury to the lower back area of the spine which can cause radiating pain, tingling and numbness in the buttocks, legs and feet.

Shoulder Dislocation — A shoulder injury that occurs when the head of the humerus (bone in the upper part of the arm) slips out of the shoulder socket.

Slipped disc — See "herniated disc."

Spinal Disc — Discs made up of cartilage that are located between each bone in the spine (vertebra) that cushion against shock and provide flexibility. It has a strong outer layer and a soft jelly-like inner layer.

Spinal Fusion (Fusion Surgery) — A back operation in which two or more vertebra are combined.

Torn Rotator Cuff — A shoulder injury in which the rotator cuff is torn. Rotator cuffs are made up of multiple tendons which connect the humerus (bone in the upper part of the arm) to the scapula (shoulder blade).

North Carolina Industrial Commission Forms

Form 18Notice of Accident to Employer and Claim of Employee, Representative or Dependent for Workers' Compensation Benefits. The official document filed by an employee notifying his/her employer that an injury occurred in the workplace.

Form 24Application to Terminate or Suspend Payment of Compensation. The form an insurance carrier must file if it wants to turn off a worker's weekly check before he or she returns to work.

Form 28TNotice of Termination of Compensation by Reason of Trial Return to Work. This form certifies that an employee returned to work, even for a brief time. Form 28T allows the carrier to turn off an injured worker's NC workers' compensation checks.

Form 33Request for Hearing with the North Carolina Industrial Commission. The form an employee fills out to request a hearing regarding a denied workers' compensation claim — or to raise other disputes over NC workers' compensation benefits with the North Carolina Industrial Commission.

Form 60 — Employer's Admission of Employee's Right to Compensation. A form that the employer completes to accept the validity of a NC workers' compensation claim.

Form 61Denial of Workers' Compensation Claim. A form that outlines the reasons that an employer denied an NC workers' compensation claim.

Form 63Notice to Employee of Payment without Prejudice. A provisional acceptance of an NC workers' compensation claim which the employer's insurance carrier can later reverse within certain time limitations.

Contact a workers' compensation lawyer today

If you have received any of these forms from the workers' compensation insurance carrier, you should contact a workers' compensation lawyer to help ensure your rights are protected.

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