Questions and Answers About Tennessee Workers’ Compensation – Part IV

Q.        If an employee is still disabled after returning to work, is he/she entitled to additional workers’ compensation benefits? 

A.        In addition to weekly compensation benefits during the recovery period, the employee may be entitled to additional monetary benefits for permanent disability even if he/she returns to work.

 Q.        What are permanent partial disability benefits?

 A.        If an employee sustains an injury that causes a permanent disability, he/she is entitled to permanent partial or permanent total disability benefits.  The maximum amount is established by the State Legislature.  A court of law can award an employee a sum of money up to the maximum set by the Legislature if a settlement is not reached at a mediation process before the Tennessee Department of Labor.

 Q.        What does a judge consider in arriving at the decision of how much an injured employee is entitled to in permanent disability benefits?

 A.        1.         Age:  The older the employee, the more the judge will award.

             2.         Education: The less educated the employee is, the more the judge will award if the employee cannot due to his past work because it is harder to retrain the employee to perform other work.  

             3.         Work History: The more difficult the employee’s prior work history, the more the judge will award if the employee cannot perform that type of work.

             4.         Disability:  The greater the doctor’s impairment rating and permanent restrictions, the more the judge will award.

             5.         Occupational Opportunity:  The fewer the available jobs the employee can perform after his/her injury, the greater the award.

 Q.        If an employee sustains a permanent injury to a finger, hand, arm, toe, feet, leg, or eye, what benefits is he/she entitled to?

 A.        In addition to the weekly benefits during the period of time the employee is under his/her doctor’s care and unable to work, he/she is entitled to received additional benefits for his/her permanent disability to the part of the body affected.

 Q.        Is an employee entitled to a greater percentage of permanent disability benefits than his/her doctor’s percentage of impairment?

 A.        Yes, generally the employee will receive a higher award from a judge than the doctor’s disability rating.

 Q.        Can a person receive workers’ compensation benefits for permanent loss of hearing due to his/her employment?

 A.        Yes.

 Q.        Is an employee who sustains an injury at work which disfigures his/her head, face, or hands entitled to workers’ compensation benefits?

 A.       Yes, if it makes it difficult for him/her to either obtain or keep a job.

 Q.        Can an injured employee apply for Social Security benefits while he/she is receiving workers’ compensation benefits?

 A.        Yes.  If the nature and duration of the employee’s disability is severe enough, he/she may be entitled to receive benefits from both Social Security and Workers’ Compensation.

 Q.        If an employee previously sustained an injury, may he/she recover, if he/she gets reinjured at work?

 A.        Yes.  If an employee sustains an injury at work which aggravates a pre-existing condition, he/she is entitled to additional workers’ compensation benefits.

 Q.        If an employee has a disease which is aggravated by his/her work environment, is he/she entitled to workers’ compensation benefits?

 A.        Yes.

If you need more information about a personal injury matter (car wreck, boating accident, slip and fall, etc.), Social Security Disability or SSI matter, or a workers compensation matter, please contact John Dreiser at the Law Offices of Tony Farmer and John Dreiser for a free case evaluation.  We can be reached at (865) 584-1211 or (800) 806-4611 or by e-mail at, through Facebook,  or through our website at  Our office handles claims throughout East Tennessee, including Knoxville, ChattanoogaKingsport, Bristol, Johnson City, Morristown, Maryville, Rogersville, Dandridge, Tazewell, New Tazewell, Jefferson City, Strawberry Plains, Sevierville, Gatlinburg, Loudon, Kingston, Halls, Maynardville, Crossville, Cookeville, Sweetwater, Lenoir City, Athens, Oak Ridge, Clinton, LaFollette, Lake City, Jacksboro, Bean Station, Cosby, Newport, White Pine, Mosheim, Wartburg, Sunbright, Pigeon Forge, and Deer Lodge.


About farmerdreiser

Based in Knoxville, Tennessee, The Law Offices of Tony Farmer and John Dreiser provide comprehensive representation to injured victims throughout eastern Tennessee in personal injury, Social Security disability, and workers' compensation cases.
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