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Tennessee Workers' Compensation Laws

UPDATED: March 30, 2011

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Tennessee workers' compensation law governs the kind of workplace injuries for which a worker may recover benefits, and the policies and procedures necessary for a worker to receive workers' compensation benefits in Tennessee.

Claims under Tennessee Workers' Compensation Laws

Tennessee workers' compensation insurance covers illnesses that develop because of an employee's continual exposure or contact with unsafe conditions at his place of employment. Certain work-related injuries or workplace accidents, such as tripping and falling, are also covered by Tennessee workers' compensation law. However, if an employee is injured because he was drunk or under the influence of drugs at the time of his accident, or because his injury was self-inflicted, he cannot receive workers' compensation benefits under Tennessee law. In the unfortunate event that a worker dies because of his job-related illness or injury, his surviving relatives are entitled to death benefits to make up for his lost compensation.

Tennessee Workers' Compensation Benefits

Treatment for Injury or Illness: Hospital bills and physicians' bills incurred by the worker in getting his work-related injury or disease treated will be paid by the employer's workers' compensation insurance.

Replacement Income Benefits: Benefits to replace lost income constitute a major component of Tennessee workers' compensation benefits. They are divided into the following four categories:

1) Temporary Total Disability Benefits (TTD): A worker will receive these benefits if he is unable to work while recovering from his injury or illness. He will be paid weekly at two-thirds of the wage he earned before his injury.

2) Temporary Partial Disability Benefits (TPD): TPD will apply if an employee can work at least part-time or at a reduced wage while the employee recovers from their injury or illness. If this is the case, workers' compensation insurance will pay two-thirds of the difference between the average weekly wage before and after the employee was injured or became ill.

3) Permanent Total Disability Benefits (PTD): The worker's employment-related injury or disease makes him permanently unable to earn gainful income. He will be paid every two weeks according to a calculation based on his degree of disability and the time elapsed since the injury or illness occurred.

4) Permanent Partial Disability Benefits (PPD): PPD is available when an injured or ill worker's condition is not expected to improve further and the injury will hinder him and affect the kind of work he can do on a permanent basis. Benefits are calculated in the same manner as for PTD.

Reimbursement for Mileage: When an employee must travel some distance to get his work injury or illness examined or treated, his mileage costs to and from appointments and the wages he loses in going to medical appointments may be reimbursed by his employer's workers' compensation insurer.

Death/Funeral: The dependents of employees who pass away due to the injuries or illnesses they suffer at their jobs may get death benefits as well as $7,500 towards burial expenses for the deceased employee's funeral.

Tennessee Workers' Compensation Statutes

For more information on Tennessee workers' compensation laws, including the full text of all relevant Tennessee workers' compensation statutes, refer to the most current online version of the Tennessee Code.

Employers Subject To Workers' Compensation: Workers' Compensation Act, Title 50, Chp.6, Part 1; Covered Employees: Workers' Compensation Act, Title 50, Chp.6, Part 1; Benefits: Workers' Compensation Act, Title 50, Chp.6, Part 2 § 204; Claims Procedure: Workers' Compensation Act, Title 50, Chp.6, Part 2 §§ 201-203.

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