Tennessee State Workers Compensation Law
Whether you work in agriculture, healthcare, tourism, or manufacturing, workplace injuries can happen to anyone in any industry. These incidents can have lasting physical, emotional, and financial impacts for the victim. The good news is, Tennessee has laws in place to protect injured and sick workers. Here’s what you need to know about workers’ compensation laws in Tennessee.
What Is Workers’ Compensation?
Workers’ compensation insurance provides partial wage replacement and other benefits to employees who have suffered a work-related injury or illness. The benefits received depend on the specifics of the injury or illness and to what degree it has impacted the victim’s ability to work. In Tennessee, companies with five or more employees are legally required to carry this coverage.
What Are Disability Benefits?
If you spend time away from your place of employment due to an occupational ailment, you may be eligible to receive disability benefits through Tennessee’s workers’ compensation program, such as:
- Temporary Disability: Temporary disability benefits cover a portion of your lost wages while you are recovering from an injury. This coverage begins on your eighth day of missed work. If your disability lasts more than 14 days, you will be retroactively reimbursed for your first seven days. Benefits are paid until you can earn your regular salary or your doctor determines that your condition will not improve any further (known as maximum medical improvement, or MMI). Temporary disability is divided into two types:
- Temporary Total: If you’re completely unable to work, you’ll receive temporary total disability at two-thirds of your average weekly wage up to a maximum figure set by state law.
- Temporary Partial: If you can work but are earning less due to your injury, you may receive temporary partial disability benefits at two-thirds of the difference between your pre- and post-injury wages.
- Permanent Disability: Once your doctor determines that you have reached MMI, you may be eligible for permanent disability benefits for a total or partial disability.
- Permanent Total: If you’re unable to perform any work, you may be able to receive permanent total disability benefits at the same rate and maximum as temporary total benefits. These benefits last until you reach retirement age.
- Permanent Partial: If your doctor finds your impairments are partially disabling, you may receive permanent partial disability benefits. Once you reach MMI, your doctor will assign an impairment rating, which reflects the percentage of total body function lost. You’ll receive that percentage of 450 weeks in payments of two-thirds of your average weekly pay.
What Else Is Covered?
Tennessee workers’ compensation laws provide additional benefits, including coverage for all necessary medical treatments and mileage to and from doctor visits. The state also provides death benefits to the surviving spouse and children of an employee who lost their life. If the employee had a spouse but no kids, the spouse will receive 50% of the worker’s average weekly wage. If the employee had a spouse and kids, the family will receive two-thirds of the employee’s average weekly wage.
How Can a Workers’ Compensation Attorney Help?
Although workers’ compensation laws may appear straightforward, oftentimes employers and their insurance companies try to deny benefits. It’s essential that you hire a workers’ compensation attorney who is well versed in handling these matters. A Morgan & Morgan workers’ compensation attorney can:
- Gather necessary medical evidence in support of your claim
- Communicate with the insurance company
- Negotiate a favorable settlement
- Represent you at your hearing
- Appeal a claim that’s been denied
Contact a Workers’ Compensation Attorney in Tennessee
If you’ve suffered an occupational injury or illness, you need to understand your rights and how workers’ compensation laws in Tennessee apply to you. Morgan & Morgan may be able to help. Schedule a free case evaluation today to get started.