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Workers Compensation FAQ's

1.  How did it begin?

The Tennessee Workers' Compensation Act was enacted in 1919.  Since that time it has evolved with many changes.   In 2004, state politics will play a roll as many employers, with the aid of the government, will attempt to "reform" the law as they now exist.  These proposed "reforms" have the primary objective of decreasing the costs of workers compensation insurance to employers - that is - they have the net effect of reducing benefits to injured employees.

2.   I was hurt at work, what do I do First?

You should immediately notify your supervisor of any injury or illness that you sustain during your employment.   Sometimes it is obvious in the case of a traumatic injury such as a broken, serve cut, or any other injury which occurs suddenly.  However, some injuries do not arise suddenly and/or are less obvious.   The law allows for a 30 day period to provide Notice to the Employer.    To help safeguard yourself, make sure a ""First Report of Injury" is filled out by the employer.   Your employer is required by law to file with the Tennessee Department of Labor. 

3.  If I am taken off work will I be paid?

Although Tennessee law provides that an injured worker is entitled to be paid for time lost from work, that benefit does not start until you have been off work for at least 7 days.   If you are off work for a period of time between 8 and 14 days, you are entitled to 2/3 of your average weekly wage ( "AWW") for those days .   If your injury or illness keeps you off work beyond this period of time, you are entitled to your benefit rate for that period of time, plus for the first 7 days you were off.

Average weekly wage is computed by averaging your income for the previous 52 weeks but is subject to a statutory cap.  If you have been employed less than 52 weeks, then it is the weekly average for the time you have been with this employer.  If you have not worked long enough to obtain a true average, then we use a comparable employee to obtain a fair benefit rate.

4What are TTD's?

Temporary Total Disability Benefits:   This is the term for the money you will be paid while taken off of work.   When you are injured within the course and scope of your employment, your employer is required to provide you with a panel of physicians from which you are to choose. The cost for medical treatment and  medicine are paid  by the workers' compensation carrier.   Further, if your physician keeps you off work, you are entitled to a compensation based on your past wages.

5.   What is MMI?

Maximum Medical Improvement:  When the treating doctor determines that you have reached a point that your body will not substantially continue to improve.   Some reference the term MMI with that term of being "released" from your doctor.

6.  What are PPD's?

Permanent Partial Disability Benefits:  Once you have reached maximum medical improvement, you may be entitled to future medical coverage and further compensation. This will depend on several factors, including whether your physician has provided you with an impairment rating.

7.   How do I know if I have a compensable claim?

You are entitled to workers' compensation benefits if, while within the course and scope of your employment, you sustain an injury or illness, or an aggravation of a pre-existing condition, that arises out of employment.  

8.  Can my employer terminate me for filing a workers' compensation claim?

The Tennessee Supreme Court held that if a claim for workers' compensation benefits was a substantial factor in the employer's motivation to terminate the employee's employment, the employee had a separate claim for retaliatory discharge.

9. How do I obtain treatment for a compensable injury or illness?

Once your employer has notice that you have a compensable workers' compensation claim, it is required to provide you with a panel of three or more doctors from which you will choose.

10.  If I am injured in another state, is my injury still covered by workers' compensation?

For Tennessee to have jurisdiction over a claim, one of two conditions must be met. Either the contract of your hiring must have occurred in Tennessee, or your employer's principal place of business must be in Tennessee.



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Last Update: 07/13/2010