Benefits You Should Receive
Tennessee has a "no fault" Workers' Compensation system which means that an injured employee is entitled to compensation and medical benefits regardless of who was the cause of a job-related accident. That the accident occurred during the course of the job and arose from the employment is the only requirement. Nearly every Tennessee worker has coverage under the worker's compensation act. It is the responsibility of employers to pay an injured employee workers' compensation benefits. Either the employer or its insurance company must directly pay these benefits. The following are benefits that can be included:
MEDICAL TREATMENT: A list of three (3) doctors not together in an associated practice must be given to the employee from which to make a selection. These physicians should be near or in the community in which the employee resides. The choice from one of the three is entirely up to the employee. Once you select a physician, it is your requirement to obtain treatment from this doctor and no other, unless a referral is made. Tennessee law does limit options should an employee be dissatisfied with the treating doctor. Neither the insurance carrier or the employer is required to provide another selection of physicians or a second opinion. However, more choices will oftentimes be provided when asked. An employee is always allowed to obtain a second opinion or seek treatment with another doctor at his/her expense; however, the employer only must follow the restrictions of the authorized doctor.
PAYMENT WHILE OFF WORK: You may be entitled to temporary disability payments if your doctor takes you off work for more than seven days. Injured employees are not paid for the initial seven (7) days they are disabled. A day's benefits are due for each subsequent day off work through the fourteenth (14th) day when the first seven (7) are then paid meaning that disability benefits are paid for all fourteen (14) days. The rate at which you are paid is subject to workers' compensation minimum and maximum rates that are effective on the date of the injury. 66 2/3% of the average weekly income is what is due an employee in benefits subject to certain minimum and maximum weekly rates.
COMPENSATION FOR PERMANENT INJURY: You are entitled to compensation if you do not make a complete recovery from your work related injury. Should the injury prove to be permanent, the attending workers compensation physician will state a percentage of disability and state which part of the body is involved. This is known as a disability rating. However, not all physicians agree on the extent or even the existence of a disability. If your workers compensation physician releases you with a small disability, it is a good idea to contact an attorney to find out the fairness of the rating. The amount of your compensation is directly impacted by a low rating. Should it be needed, a second opinion from a separate doctor should be able to be arranged by an attorney experienced in workers compensation.
DEATH BENEFITS: When death is the result of an injury by a covered employee, the widower, widow or dependent orphan is entitled to receive 50% of the weekly wage of the deceased employee, not to exceed the weekly maximum. If the employee leaves a spouse and one or more dependent children, 66 2/3% of the average weekly wages are due, not to exceed the maximum per week. If other dependent relatives are left by the deceased employee compensation may also be due them. If no dependents are left then $20,000 should be paid to the estate of the deceased employee. Should anyone other than your co–worker or employer be wholly or partly responsible for your injury, you may be entitled to a 3rd party claim against that company or person. Many times, third party claims can result in more compensation than the workers' comp claim. If you would like to learn more, you may contact us either online or by calling 800-705-2121.