First off, you are entitled to medical care, but what if the doctor also takes me off work?
If the greater weight of the medical and lay (non-medical personnel) testimony establishes that you are off work and have yet to reach maximum medical improvement and have not returned to work following an accident, you are entitled to either temporary total disability benefits or temporary partial disability benefits.
If, based on the greater weight of the evidence, you are totally unable to work, you are entitled to draw temporary TOTAL disability benefits. You should receive 66.67% of your average weekly wage, based upon the wages you earned for during the 52 weeks before your injury. See Tennessee Code Annotated §50-6-205 .
This code section also provides that you are to receive temporary total disability benefits from day 8 through day 13 for time off work from an injury. If you are off 14 days plus, you would draw temporary total disability benefits from the date of the accident through the earlier of the date you return to work OR the date you reach maximum medical improvement.
If your employer fails or refuses to pay the correct temporary disability payment to you after 20 days, the Tennessee Department of Labor can fine your employer.
But what if the Doctor returns me to work on restrictions and I can only make a PORTION of what I made before the accident? For instance, what if the restrictions placed by the doctor allow me to return to work but I can only earn ½ of what I did before the accident?
Under these circumstances, you could be entitled to temporary partial disability benefits. By way of example, if a worker was making $20 per hour before the accident, was injured on the job and then returned to work under restrictions that only allowed him to perform a desk job and earn $10 per hour. Under this set of facts, the worker could draw temporary partial disability benefits at approximately $266.67 ($20 per hour less $10 per hour equals $10 per hour - $10 per hour x 40 x .6667 = $266.67)
The Department of Labor has the authority under Tennessee Code Annotated and its administrative rules to order your employer to pay temporary total or temporary partial disability benefits in addition to medical benefits. See Tenn. Code Ann. Sec. 50-6-238
If you need help getting your temporary total or temporary partial disability benefits started, call the office at 731-423-1888 or go to the home page on our website to quickly contact us to request help.