An Injured Employee’s Guide to Workers’ Compensation Terminology

Personal Injury, Workers' Compensation

A female construction worker coordinating important work details on a tablet

With any legal interaction comes jargon that can feel overwhelming and confusing. Sometimes, legal jargon deters an injured worker from filing a workers’ compensation claim. Understanding key workers’ compensation terminology can help you make more informed decisions.

To help, we’ve compiled a list of the most common workers’ compensation terms that injured workers should know.

Workers’ Compensation Terminology


Average Weekly Wage (AWW): The injured worker’s average weekly earnings used to calculate workers’ compensation benefits.


Claimant: The injured worker who files a workers’ compensation claim. In Indiana, any worker can file a workers’ compensation claim, including full-time, part-time, seasonal, and temporary workers. Independent contractors may have coverage depending on their contract and employer.

Compensation Rate: The amount paid to an injured worker as temporary disability benefits.

Compensability: Whether workers’ compensation insurance covers an injury or illness.


Disability Rating: A percentage assigned to the worker based on the extent of their impairment as determined by medical evaluation.


Ex Parte Communication: Communication between one party and a judge or other decision-maker without the other party’s knowledge or participation. Ex Parte Communication is generally prohibited in workers’ compensation proceedings.

Exclusive Remedy: States that workers’ compensation benefits are injured workers’ only available remedy against their employers for workplace injuries. In other words, an injured employee cannot sue their employer to obtain more benefits outside of workers’ compensation.


Hearing: A formal proceeding where evidence is presented and witnesses testify before an administrative law judge to resolve worker compensation disputes.


Impairment Rating: A medical assessment of the degree of impairment caused by an injury or illness.

Independent Medical Examination (IME): An evaluation by a physician chosen by the insurance company to assess the claimant’s injuries.


Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI): The point at which further medical treatment will not significantly improve the injured workers’ condition.

Mediation: When a neutral third party (often called a mediator) helps the parties negotiate in a workers’ compensation dispute.


Permanent Partial Disability (PPD): A permanent injury that impairs the worker’s ability to perform specific tasks but does not prevent them from working entirely.

Permanent Total Disability (PTD): A permanent injury that prevents the worker from performing any type of work.


Rehabilitation Nurse: A nurse who coordinates medical care and services for injured workers during their recovery and rehabilitation process.


Settlement: When the parties agree to resolve or settle a workers’ compensation claim without going to trial.

Statute of Limitations: The amount of time a worker has to file a workers’ compensation claim after an injury. In Indiana, the workers’ compensation statute of limitations is two years from the date of the injury.

Subrogation: The right of the workers’ compensation insurer to pursue a third-party responsible for the injuries to pay out benefits to the injured worker.


Temporary Partial Disability (TPD): An injury that temporarily prevents the worker from performing some job duties but allows them to work in a limited capacity.

Temporary Total Disability (TTD): An injury that temporarily prevents the worker from working.

Third-Party Claim: A legal action brought by the injured worker against a party other than their employer whose negligence contributed to their injury.


Vocational Rehabilitation: Services provided to help injured workers return to work or find alternative employment.


Workers’ Compensation: Workers’ compensation is an insurance system that provides financial and medical benefits for workers unable to perform their jobs after work-related injuries. It protects employees and employers by providing a streamlined process for compensating injured workers without legal action. Sometimes, legal action is necessary to receive total compensation.

Other Helpful Resources

Didn’t find what you were looking for?

Here are some other reputable legal resources with important workers’ compensation terminology:

How We Help

If you’ve been injured at work, our experienced workers’ compensation lawyers can help you get the outcome you deserve.

To schedule a free consultation, call us at 317-566-9600 (Indianapolis), 765-865-9300 (Bloomington), or 812-566-2600 (Kokomo), or complete our online inquiry form.