Glossary of Key Terms in Workers’ Compensation

Navigating the world of workers’ compensation can be overwhelming, especially when confronted with a barrage of unfamiliar terminology. Understanding the language used in workers’ compensation cases is essential for both employees and employers to ensure clarity and effective communication. As a firm that specializes in Workers’ Compensation, we’ve put together a comprehensive glossary of key terms commonly encountered in workers’ compensation proceedings, empowering individuals to navigate this complex area of law with confidence. We also recommend visiting our glossary webpage for a deeper dive into commons words used in the workers’ compensation and social security worlds.

Workers’ Compensation

Workers’ compensation is a form of insurance that provides wage replacement and medical benefits to employees who suffer work-related injuries or illnesses. It is a no-fault system, meaning employees are entitled to benefits regardless of who is at fault for the injury or illness.

Occupational Injury

An occupational injury refers to any injury or illness that arises out of and in the course of employment. This includes injuries sustained while performing job duties, as well as occupational diseases caused by exposure to workplace hazards.

Compensable Injury

A compensable injury is an injury that is covered by workers’ compensation benefits. To be compensable, the injury must be work-related and meet the criteria established by state law.


The claimant is the individual who files a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. This is typically the injured employee, but it can also include dependents or survivors in cases of work-related fatalities.


The employer is the entity or individual that employs the injured worker. Employers are required by law to carry workers’ compensation insurance or self-insure to provide benefits to injured employees.

Insurance Carrier

The insurance carrier is the company that provides workers’ compensation insurance coverage to the employer. The insurance carrier is responsible for processing and paying claims for benefits.

Medical Treatment

Medical treatment refers to the care and services provided to treat a work-related injury or illness. Workers’ compensation benefits typically cover the cost of necessary medical treatment, including doctor’s visits, hospital stays, surgeries, medications, and rehabilitation services.

Temporary Total Disability (TTD)

Temporary total disability benefits are provided to injured employees who are temporarily unable to work due to their injury or illness. TTD benefits typically replace a portion of the injured worker’s lost wages until they are able to return to work.

Permanent Partial Disability (PPD)

Permanent partial disability benefits are provided to injured employees who suffer a permanent impairment or loss of function as a result of their work-related injury. PPD benefits compensate the employee for the permanent impairment or loss of earning capacity.

Independent Medical Examination (IME)

An independent medical examination is a medical evaluation conducted by a physician selected by the insurance carrier to assess the injured worker’s condition. IMEs are often requested to obtain an independent opinion on the extent of the worker’s injuries and their ability to return to work.

Understanding the key terms used in workers’ compensation cases is essential for effectively navigating the claims process and ensuring that injured workers receive the benefits they deserve. By familiarizing themselves with these terms, employees can communicate more effectively with their employers and insurance carriers, while employers can better understand their obligations under workers’ compensation law. If you need assistance with a workers’ compensation claim, schedule your FREE consultation with our team today.