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Workers’ Compensation Terms You Need to Know

Being injured on the job or diagnosed with an occupational illness or disease can be a frustrating and painful ordeal—and being confronted with a lot of unfamiliar terms and acronyms during the workers’ compensation claims process certainly doesn’t improve the experience. However, a better grasp of workers’ comp terminology can make it easier to navigate the system and keep track of developments in your case. What follows is a glossary of key terms used by the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board.

Accident, Notice and Causal Relation (ANCR)

This is the foundation of a workers’ comp accident claim. In order to establish the claim, ANCR must be found by a New York State Workers’ Compensation Law Judge.

Average Weekly Wage (AWW)

The average amount an employee makes in a week, often calculated by dividing their yearly earnings by 52. AWW is used to determine how much the claimant receives in temporary disability benefits.


An informal, expedited process used by the NYS Workers’ Compensation Board to resolve non-controverted claims in which the claimant is expected to receive benefits for no more than one year.

Controverted Claim

A claim that’s been challenged by a workers’ comp insurer for a specific stated reason. When a claim is controverted, the involved parties are directed to attend a pre-hearing to present their case to the NYS Workers’ Compensation Board.

Functional Capacity Evaluation (FCE)

This evaluation is used to determine whether an injured employee can do common job-related physical activities, such as standing, pulling, lifting, bending, and reaching.

Independent Medical Examination (IME)

Ordered by insurers and performed by doctors they’ve selected, IMEs are used to assess the extent of a worker’s injury or condition, often for the purpose of disputing treatment to reduce or deny benefits.

Impairment Rating (IR)

If a doctor treating an injured worker determines that the injury happened at work and has resulted in a permanent impairment, they’ll assign the disability an IR. This rating can influence decisions regarding the amount of compensation a worker receives and how long they’re eligible to get benefits.

Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI)

When a workers’ condition is determined by their doctor to have improved as much as can be expected, they’re found to have reached MMI. Once this happens, the worker can be evaluated for permanent disability and assigned an impairment rating (IR).

Permanent Partial Disability (PPD)

An injured worker is considered to have a PPD if a workplace accident left them with a permanent impairment that still allows them to hold some type of job to earn an income. A PPD may entitle a worker to partial disability benefits.

Permanent Total Disability (PTD)

Employees with a PTD are unable to work in any capacity as a result of the injuries they sustained on the job. There is no limit to the number of weeks someone with a PTD can receive disability benefits. However, typically, only very serious injuries—such as the loss of eyes or limbs—qualify.

Temporary Partial Disability (TPD)

This is a disability that prevents an employee from performing their regular work duties, but allows for light-duty or modified work. Employers with TPDs may be eligible for disability payments to make up for the temporary, partial loss of earning capacity.

Temporary Total Disability (TTD)

Workers whose on-the-job injuries result in a TTD experience a total loss of earning capacity. Fortunately, this loss is only temporary. While unable to work, injured employees are eligible for workers’ comp TTD benefits.

Let Our Skilled Attorneys Handle Your NYS Workers’ Comp Claim 

Hurt on the job and need aggressive and knowledgeable legal representation? Have questions about confusing terms you’ve encountered? We can help. At O’Connor Law PLLC, our seasoned workers’ comp attorneys in New York fight for injured employees to receive the benefits they deserve. To find out how we can help you with your claim, contact us today to schedule an appointment for a free initial consultation with a member of our team.

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