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Tennessee Worker's Compensation Benefits

Important Notice: The following overview of Tennessee's worker's compensation (workmans comp) benefits is presented on an as-is basis. This information is believed accurate as of the date of authorship, but is not intended to provide a complete analysis of available benefits and may not reflect subsequent changes in the law. For a full review of Tennessee's worker's compensation law, or for a determination of how the law applies to a specific worker, please consult a worker's compensation attorney licensed to practice in the state of Tennessee.



Tennessee's system of worker's compensation (workman's comp) is compulsory, meaning that employers are required to provide worker's compensation insurance for their employees. Worker's compensation insurance may be provided through a private insurance carrier, or employers may self-insure. Waivers may be permitted.

Special Employment Situations

With the exception of employers engaged in the construction industries, employers with fewer than five employees are exempt from the state's worker's compensation act. Agricultural employers may secure worker's compensation coverage voluntarily, but are not statutorily compelled to do so. Employers may provide voluntary worker's compensation coverage for domestic servants.

Medical Benefits & Choice of Physician

Full medical benefits are provided to employees entitled to worker's compensation benefits, with no time or monetary limits. Medical benefits include psychological treatment if rendered by a psychologist and upon the referral by a physician. Medical treatment required for a back injury may be provided by a chiropractor. The employee's choice of physician is by selection from a list maintained by the employer.

Disability Benefits Provided

Payments are made for temporary total disability (TTD) in an amount determined by a percentage of the worker's wage, subject to weekly maximum and minimum payment amounts. Payments may continue for up to 400 weeks, subject to a cap on the total benefit received.

Payments are made for permanent total disability (PTD) based upon a percentage of the worker's wage, subject to weekly minimum and maximum payment amounts. Payments for PTD may continue until the worker reaches retirement age.

Payments for permanent partial disability (PPD) are made based upon a percentage of the worker's wage, subject to weekly minimum and maximum payment amounts. Payments for PPD may continue for up to 400 weeks, subject to a cap on total payments.

Scheduled awards are paid in addition to total temporary disability benefits starting upon termination of the termination of the TTD benefits. The total of TTD and the scheduled award cannot exceed the maximum total benefit except in permanent total disability cases.

Benefits may be available for serious disfigurement of the head, face or hands, so altering the personal appearance as to materially affect employability.

Physical rehabilitation benefits are covered under medical services. Vocational rehabilitation benefits are available.

With certain constraints and filing deadlines, occupational hearing losses may be compensable.

Death Benefits Provided

Death benefits are payable to an employee's surviving spouse, or spouse and children, based upon a percentage of the employee's wages, subject to a cap. A minimum benefit is provided regardless of the employee's earnings. A burial allowance is available.

Limits on Attorney Fees

Attorney fees for claimants are limited by statute to 20%, with certain larger fees subject to court approval.