One trap too many lawyers fall in to, including myself at times, is to assume the person they are talking to knows things that we take for granted. If you are an iron worker, you shouldn’t expect that someone you don’t work with will understand what it means to be a journeyman or what rigging is. Lawyers shouldn’t expect clients to know common legal terms either.
I try to talk in plain English, but sometimes don’t. Whether you are a client, potential client or someone just looking around, I want you to know what terms we consider to basic mean because they likely aren’t basic to you nor should they be. Here are some common ones:
Continued at arbitration- It sounds like a big deal, but it’s usually not. Basically every case comes up for a status hearing before an arbitrator. If there are no motions filed by you or the defense lawyer (and the case is three or less years old) then it will automatically get continued to the next status date in 90 days. When someone wants to know what happened at the status hearing, if the answer is “continued at arbitration” it just means it was continued until a status hearing about three months from that day.
Application for adjustment of claim- This is the paperwork you file with the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission to make your interest in getting benefits official. If you don’t file in time you will lose your rights. Every case uses the same form.
The pinks or just pinks- You might here a lawyer say, “We are waiting on the pinks.” That refers to the settlement contract because they are all completed on pink paper.
Commissioners- They are kind of like arbitrators (Judges) but they get involved when one party appeals a case. Your hearing would be before three of them. It’s not a new trial. Each side writes a legal brief and then has five minutes to argue their side of the case.
TTD- This stands for temporary total disability which is the pay you receive when you are unable to work due to a work related injury.
Occupational disease- This is a work injury from exposure to chemicals or other irritants at work. It’s generally filed just like a normal work comp case but is called occupational disease. For most people it’s just terminology you don’t have to worry about.
Causal connection- This means that you can prove that your injuries are related to your job activities. It’s usually done from doctor’s statements or your own testimony.
Full duty- This is when you are released to return to work by a doctor without any physical restrictions. Often your doctor will have you off work or on restrictions and a company chosen doctor will say you can work full duty.
MMI- This is short for maximum medical improvement which means you are as good medically as you ever are going to get. It usually means that no more treatment is needed.
Consolidated- It’s legal jargon for when you have two or more cases filed at the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission. A lawyer will file a motion to have them consolidated which means that instead of having two cases with two arbitrators, one arbitrator will handle both cases. It’s more efficient for everyone.
Time barred- This means that you’ve waited too long to file an application for adjustment of claim or in other cases, too long to file an appeal or other motion. There are time limits to everything that vary based on the case.
If there are questions about any of these terms or anything else related to Illinois work comp law, you are welcome to contact us at any time for free.