In Tennessee, there are approximately 57,000 non-fatal work injuries reported each year. The most common injuries are in the sectors for education and health services and trade, transportation, and utilities. Here is what you need to know about the types of benefits available to you in Tennessee if you are injured at work.
The primary purpose of Workers’ Compensation is to compensate injured workers for lost work and to provide medical treatment for the injury. It does not pay pain and suffering.Medical Treatment:
The Workers’ Compensation insurance carrier is required to provide medical benefits that are reasonable and necessary for the treatment of the work injury. They are not required to act as health insurance to provide treatment for conditions unrelated to the work accident. The insurance company is required to provide the injured worker a panel of three doctors for medical treatment. The injured worker is required to pick one doctor from that panel.Lost Wages During Recovery:
Workers’ Compensation pays Temporary Total Disability benefits or Temporary Partial Disability benefits during the time that the injured worker is recovering from the injury.
Temporary Total Disability benefits are weekly benefits which are paid if the worker is completely unable to work during his or her medical recovery. These benefits are paid at a rate of 66.66% percent of the injured employee’s pre-injury wages with the employer for the 52 weeks before the injury occurred.
Temporary Partial Disability benefits are weekly benefits paid while the injured worker is still recovering but is able to work at a lesser amount of pay during that recovery period. This pays 66.66% of the difference between what the injured worker made before the injury and what that worker is making in his or her injured state.Payments for Permanent Injury:
At the conclusion of medical treatment the Workers’ Compensation doctor will use the words “Maximum Medical Improvement.” This means the injured worker has stopped improving. As a result, the benefits for temporary pay described above stop and the employee becomes entitled to Permanent Disability benefits.
There are multiple levels of Permanent Disability benefits. Permanent Partial Disability benefits pay based upon the impairment rating the Authorized Treating Physician in the Workers’ Compensation provides. For those benefits, the value of the claim is the percent impairment multiplied by 450 weeks. So, for example, a 1% impairment equals 4.5 weeks of benefits. Each additional 1% impairment leads to an additional 4.5 weeks of benefits to be paid. There are benefits that can be paid on top of these benefits if the injured worker is unable to return to work at the same wages as before.
The largest level of benefit is for an injured worker that is totally disabled from finding any kind of employment. This is called Permanent Total Disability. These benefits pay weekly until the injured worker reaches the age of full Social Security retirement. There is an exception to provide for up to 260 weeks of benefits for workers that are close to or already at that Social Security retirement age. Total disability is more likely to paid on claims for serious injuries such as injuries involving severe head injuries, neck and back injuries, CRPS, knee replacement, hip replacement, or a fully torn shoulder with surgery.Starting The Workers’ Compensation Claim:
To begin a Workers’ Compensation claim, the first step is to notify your employer that you are seeking to start a claim for the workplace accident. Do not delay in notifying your employer of the accident. It is best to notify your employer in writing so that the notice is documented. The second step is to file a Petition for Benefit Determination. This protects the claim from the running of the statute of limitations. The statute of limitations is one year from the date of the accident or from the last payment of benefits by the workers’ compensation insurance company. A case must be filed on time, or it is forever lost.Need Help?
You may need help because your claim was denied or the insurance company is not paying for medical or wage benefits or because you need to know that you are getting all that you are entitled. If you need help with your workers’ compensation claim, contact the Lawyers of Brown and Roberto at (865) 691-2777.