Wage Payments


If your injury prevents you from working, you may qualify for lost-wage compensation. The amount of money you receive is based on the severity of your injury. In most cases it is a percentage of your average weekly wage (AWW), which is based on the wages you earned during the 52 full weeks prior to your accident.

Lost-wage compensation is subject to a seven-day waiting period. This means that for the first seven calendar days of your claim, you will not be paid immediately. If you are out of work for more than 14 calendar days, you will then be paid for the seven-day waiting period. Wage benefits are paid semimonthly.

Keep in mind that there is a maximum weekly benefit mandated by the state. This number depends on your date of accident and changes periodically, so check with your adjustor.

Below are the most common types of wage benefits and the methods used to calculate them. If your claim is classified in one of the categories below, your benefits will be paid as described. Because Tennessee’s workers’ comp law provides for many different scenarios, this is not an all-inclusive list. Depending on your situation, your claim may provide you with different benefits.

Temporary Total Disability

This means you are unable to work in any capacity, but are expected to fully recover and return to work. In this instance, you will receive 66⅔ percent of your AWW. Benefits may continue in this category until you return to work or you reach maximum medical improvement (MMI), for up to 400 weeks. MMI means that you are in the best physical state that you can reasonably be expected to reach, given your medical condition. At this point, your case will be reviewed to determine the appropriate next step.

Temporary Partial Disability

In this case, you are still limited by your injury, but are able to work in some capacity. If you return to work, but your new job pays less than your previous one, you are entitled to temporary partial disability benefits. You will be paid 66⅔ percent of the difference between your AWW before your injury and your AWW after your injury.

Permanent Partial Disability

Normally, permanent partial disability means that you are permanently disabled, but still able to return to work in some capacity. To qualify for permanent partial disability benefits, your doctor must determine that you have reached maximum medical improvement (MMI) and have a permanent impairment related to your work injury. At this point, your doctor may assign you a permanent impairment rating under the American Medical Association Guides (or in cases not covered by the AMA Guides, an impairment rating that is generally accepted by the medical community). Your benefits will be calculated using this rating.

Permanent Total Disability

This means that you are completely disabled as defined by state statute and are not able to return to work in any capacity. In this case, workers’ comp will normally pay you 66⅔ percent of your AWW until you are eligible for full social security retirement benefits. For injuries sustained after age 60, you are entitled to these benefits for up to 260 weeks.

Death Benefits

If a worker dies as a result of a work-related accident, dependent family members may receive workers’ comp benefits. A one-time payment of up to $7,500 is available for funeral expenses. A widowed spouse, with no dependent children, is usually entitled to 50 percent of the deceased worker’s AWW. If there are also dependent children, the benefit rises to 66 ⅔ percent of the worker’s AWW. Other dependents may also be entitled to benefits, as listed in Tennessee statute. If the deceased employee leaves no dependents, then $20,000 will be paid to the estate of the deceased. Summit claims adjustors specially trained in these types of claims will work with the employer to determine what benefits are due.

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