If you were injured at work, you can file a claim for Alaska workers’ compensation benefits to pay for medical care and to replace your wages while you are unable to work. It’s always a good idea to work with an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer to help you navigate the details of your claim, but even with the help of a lawyer, you should understand the workers’ compensation process. You will quickly learn that the workers’ comp system has a language of its own, and the terms listed below are some of the more common terms you should know.
Alaska Workers’ Compensation Glossary
Although your lawyer will handle all communication relating to your workers’ compensation case for you, you are always welcome to ask questions. As an informed client, you should have an understanding of the following terms related to your case:
- Alternative work - If your injury will prevent you from performing your normal job, but you can work in another position, you will be performing "alternative work."
- Average Daily Wage (ADW) - This is the calculation of the average earnings you make in a day. It is sometimes used to determine benefits for lost wages after a workplace injury.
- Average Weekly Wage (AWW) - The AWW, which is an average of your earnings each week, is another way your lost wage benefit might be calculated.
- Award - This refers to the final order for your workers’ compensation benefit. It often refers to the settlement after a lawsuit.
- Going and coming rule - If you were injured while coming to or leaving work, chances are you will not receive compensation for your injury under this rule.
- Independent Medical Examination (IME) - Although you were likely seen by your own physician after your injury (in Alaska, you have the right to see a physician of your choosing), your employer and the insurance company might want you to have an IME. This is especially common if there is litigation over your injuries.
- Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI) - You will have reached MMI when medical experts decide that your medical condition has stabilized and is unlikely to change in the future.
- Permanent Partial Disability (PPD) - If your injuries are permanent, but you are not completely disabled, you might be eligible for PPD benefits.
- Permanent Total Disability (PTD) - If your injuries have rendered you completely disabled and unable to return to work, you may be eligible for PTD benefits.
- Physical therapy - Physical therapy is often part of medical treatment to help you recover from your injuries.
- Social Security Disability Benefits (SSDI) - If you were injured at work and became completely disabled as a result, you might be eligible for SSDI benefits, which the Social Security Administration pays out.
- Temporary Partial Disability - If you can still work despite your injury, you might qualify for TPD benefits. These will only be paid for a limited time, usually until you are able to resume work without losing any income.
- Temporary Total Disability - As the name implies, you might get TTD benefits if you are disabled temporarily. As soon as you are able to return to work, these benefits will stop.
- Vocational rehabilitation - Another term for this is “occupational rehabilitation.” It refers to vocational services to help you return to work after you are injured. These can include an assessment of your skills, educational courses, retraining, and assistance with a job search.
An Experienced Attorney Can Help You Protect Your Rights If You Are Injured at Work
Don’t risk being short-changed by insurance companies if you have a workers’ compensation claim. Recovering from a work injury can be challenging—physically, emotionally, and financially. Ben Crittenden is an experienced advocate for injured workers, and he can help you obtain the best possible outcome for your case. Call his Anchorage office today or fill out the contact form on this page to get in touch.