An injured employee in Tennessee is entitled to receive three (3) different types of benefits. The first of which is the right to receive medical treatment for the work-related injury. If a specialist such as an orthopedic doctor is needed then the employee is to receive a list of three (3) doctors from which to choose.
The second benefit that an employee is entitled to is temporary benefits. If an employee is held out of work by the authorized physician, then the employee is entitled to receive two-thirds (2/3) of their average weekly wages. The average weekly wage is determined by looking at the employee’s wages over the fifty-two (52) weeks prior to the injury.
The third benefit an employee is entitled to receive is compensation for the permanent nature of the injury. The amount the employee receives is based on the percentage of impairment (i.e. impairment rating) assigned by the authorized treating physician and on the employee’s average weekly wage. In Tennessee there is a formula based on 450 weeks x the average weekly wage x the impairment rating. The employee can also receive additional multipliers if they do not return to work within a specified period. In this scenario the employee may also receive additional compensation based on his education level, age and unemployment rate of the county where he resides.
In the past 30 years the Tennessee Workers’ Compensation laws have received at least three (3) major revisions. Each revision has tended to provide less compensation to an injured employee. Tennessee law previously has based an employee’s right to recover based on the Vocational Impairment an employee has due to a work-related injury. Due to an erosion of employee rights and the power of the Business and Insurance Industries, the laws have been changed to base the recovery more on an arbitrary formula than on how an injury affects an employee’s ability to earn a living.
If you have been involved in a work related accident, contact us today. We are happy to discuss what benefits you are entitled to.