Guide to Workers' Comp Lingo - Des Moines, IA

The workers' compensation system will bury you with technical jargon, lingo or acronyms. Here are a few examples: Do you know what HP means? What about PPD? Do you know why or when you receive either type of benefit?

We suspect the answer to these questions is you do not understand the terms. If you think you understand them, you are probably wrong, because the definitions change based upon any number of factors. This is why we urge you to pick up the phone and give us a call.

At Lawyer, Lawyer, Dutton & Drake, LLP we've done this work for a long time, have a lot of experience through repetition and stay current on the law. There is no sense torturing yourself trying to understand what is very difficult for most attorneys to understand. Give us a call to discuss what is confusing you today. There is no charge for talking about your case.

Below is a list of definitions to consider while making your call to us:

Lump Sum Settlement – This means cash paid today. However, it's important to realize the insurance company wants something in return. In exchange for offering you a certain amount of cash up front, the insurance company will require you accept a final settlement. This means once you accept the settlement and the lump sum of money, you will lose your right to seek any future benefits.

The bottom line is that cash settlements are tricky because the insurance companies will expect you to assume every future risk possible. Call us.

SOL – Statute of Limitations

There are variable time limits in which a suit must be filed or you waive your right to any recovery. In some cases, this is two years from the date of your injury. In other cases it can be two years from the date you were last paid weekly benefits. This is very complex so feel free to talk with one of the attorneys about this potential problem, especially if you have been paid weekly benefits. And remember, just because they paid for some medical bills, it does not mean your time limit is extended.

90-Day Notice – One of the first things to do after an on-the-job accident is to notify your employer in writing. You technically have 90 days to provide your employer with this written notice (unless he or she is already aware of the injury), but it's best to do it as soon as possible. In most cases, failing to notify your employer within 90 days means you lose the right to pursue a workers' compensation claim. However, there are certain exceptions, so contact one of our lawyers to learn more.

PPD – Permanent Partial Disability

Once you either return to work or your doctor decides your condition will not improve any more, the insurance company will pay you PPD benefits. The amount of money the insurance company pays will depend on how many weeks of workers' compensation it believes is fair. This is the core concept to value in your case, but it has many names and is difficult to understand just by reading websites. We can explain what it means for you personally.

TTD – Temporary Total Disability/Healing Period

If you were injured on the job to such an extent you missed work during the time you were recovering from your injury, you may be entitled to what is called temporary total disability payments or healing period payments. These payments commence on the fourth day of disability after your injury. If your inability to work extends beyond the fourteenth day following the injury, your employer is required to add an additional three days of payments to your check during the third week to make up for the three-day waiting period. Typically, the employer's insurance company will voluntarily make these payments during the period you are unable to work.

PTD Permanent Total Disability

If you are unable to return to work for the rest of your life because of a compensable injury other than a scheduled member injury, you are entitled to permanent total disability benefits as long as you remain disabled for life. This is another name for PPD.

Scheduled Member – Certain types of disabling conditions – such as losing the ability to use a scheduled member – can potentially qualify you for compensation for a certain number of weeks, regardless of whether you are able to work during that time period or not. A scheduled member can include an arm, leg, finger, toe, foot, eye, etc.

Body as a Whole (BAW) – If your injury permanently disables more than a scheduled member – if it affects your head or torso, for instance – it can potentially qualify you for permanent partial disability (PPD) benefits. The most common types of body as a whole injuries involve damage to the back or hip. BAW can also include psychological injuries.

Industrial Disability – No single factor governs the determination of an industrial disability. In most cases, the decision is up to the Iowa Work Comp Commissioner. The commissioner will look at a variety of factors in deciding whether you qualify for industrial disability benefits. These factors include your education, your physical limitations, your work history and your age. Industrial disability is another type of permanent partial disability (PPD).

Death Benefits – If a compensable injury ended up causing the death of your spouse or parent, you may be eligible for death benefits. A surviving spouse is eligible to collect the benefits until he or she remarries. A dependent child is eligible for the benefits until he or she turns 18 (or 25, if he or she is attending college full-time). Family members other than spouses and children may also potentially qualify for death benefits if they were financially dependent upon the deceased employee.

Call our office in West Des Moines at 515-224-4400 or contact us by email today for a free consultation.