Tennessee Worker's Compensation - Help For Injured Tennessee Workers

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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    3

    Default Settlement Offer

    i had a knee injury in october 2007/surgery november 2007. i have been released by my doctor with recommendation that the medical be left open.
    this is what he writes to wc/ins:
    full thickness of the cchondral injury to medial femoral condyle which means the entire thickness of the cartilaginous surface had been sheard off and injured to the point where now there is exposed bone.
    he has given a 7% impairment rating for lower left extremity which translates to a 3% whole person.

    within a week of receiving this from my doctor the wc/ins contacted me with a settlement offer of $5935.23 (21 weeks/7% knee). without going into details during our conversation she lied to me (as i found out later). i've never been through this before, i don't have an attorney but don't know really what to do as i really don't trust them. i did not accept the offer i told her i would let her know.

    i am still with the same employer and my wc/compensation was $283 per week when i was off after the surgery.

    what stinks about this and what i feel is unfair/is the day i was injured i had been given a $2 per hour raise. but when they figure up what to pay me as far as a settlement it is based on the year prior. i mean the settlement for permanent disab. should compensate me what i will be out right? but they are paying me by what i used to earn. i know they can do this legally it is just not fair.

    sorry to ramble, i just don't understand the formula on how they come up with a final settlement.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Posts
    191

    Default Re: Settlement Offer

    Hi,

    sorry to hear that, the best thing is to find a lawyer to protect your rights and have the maximum medical benefit. don't take that coz i think your worth more than that.. take care

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Posts
    210

    Default Re: Settlement Offer

    Damn...That does suck...I mean...the same day??? What are the odds??? But also I thought for a settlement that they went back 5 years??? Maybe that is for permanent disability??? Well get an attorney regardless...Even if they get 1/3 you'll still probably get a larger settlement that will make up the difference...Not to mention the satisfaction of knowng WC didn't get one over on you is priceless...Good luck...

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Tennessee
    Posts
    200

    Default Re: Settlement Offer

    I am a lawyer, so let me answer a couple of general questions about the law.

    1. For purposes of determining what you'll get paid for temporary or permanent disability, your workers' compensation benefit rate or "comp rate" as people in the profession call it, is based on the 52 weeks of wages prior to your injury. Add them up, divide by 52 (if you've been there 52 weeks), and the results are your Average Weekly Wage (AWW). You take your AWW and multiply time 2/3, and you've got the comp rate.

    2. If you have returned to work for the same employer, making the same or greater hourly wage as before your injury (which you said you did), then your permanent disability is limited to no more than 1.5 times your medical impairment rating. In your case, 1.5 times 7% to the leg.

    3. Here's the math:
    Maximum disability benefits for injury to the leg= 200 weeks
    Your Comp Rate= $283.00 per week
    Your Medical Impairment=7%
    Since you returned to work, your maximum permanent partial disability award is limited to 1.5 times the 7% rating, or 10.5% permanent partial disability (PPD)
    Multiply 10.5% times 200 weeks = 21 weeks of benefits
    Multiply 21 weeks of benefits times $283.00 per week =$5943.00

    4. Other things to consider:
    --Your case can be reopened for possible increase in this award if, within 200 weeks of your return to work, you lose your job through no fault of your own. In that case, you could receive an enlargement of this award. You would definitely need a lawyer to go forward with that
    --You could possibly secure a larger settlement now, if you were to hire an attorney and get a higher medical impairment rating, but, based on what you've mentioned here, it's likely not worth the time, delay, and expense to do so.
    --You can't ever be required to close your rights to future medical care. They can't even offer to do so for three years. However, at the end of three years, if you feel like your condition is fine and doesn't need medical care, you can possibly receive additional cash (probably no more than a couple thousand) to close your medicals.

    I hope this information helps. If you need to consult an attorney, it's certainly not unreasonable, though in this case, it sounds like the IC is offering you a max amount settlement at this stage.

    JLJ

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Settlement Offer

    thanks jlj you said:
    2. If you have returned to work for the same employer, making the same or greater hourly wage as before your injury (which you said you did), then your permanent disability is limited to no more than 1.5 times your medical impairment rating. In your case, 1.5 times 7% to the leg.


    so you are penalized for staying with your same employer???
    i am kind of disappointed with the offer. i still have pain/swelling and i can't do the things i could do before or at least enjoy them as much and this is as good as it gets for the rest of my life!!!!! in fact it will get worse with age and arthritis. i love to play tennis, guess what i can't do that anymore without suffering afterwards. if my 4 year old took off running for the highway i wouldn't be able to stop her. so when you think about for the rest of my life this is as good as it gets, $6,000 just doesn't seem to "compensate" me for what i have lost!!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Tennessee
    Posts
    200

    Default Re: Settlement Offer

    Well, here's the explanation as to why that is the case. The idea is that the state wants to encourage employers to allow their injured employees to return to their previous employment in their disabled state. To accomplish that end, the employer gets the benefit of limiting workers' comp liability by applying the caps when they put you back to work.

    To discourage employers from firing employees immediately after their return to work and settlement of the workers' comp claim, the employee has the right to file for reconsideration of the award within 200 or 400 weeks of the return to work (depending on the body part injured).

    Ultimately, workers' compensation benefits don't take into account things like your pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, and the like. It is only designed to consider how an injury impacts your ability to work and earn an income in your disabled state. Also, the amount you are able to recover depends largely on the wage you earned, and what your comp rate is. If you make a larger income, then someone with the same injury as yours will receive more dollars, even if the permanent disability percentage is the same.

    Ultimately, the system is supposed to be designed to treat all employees of all employers the same way.

    If you had the same injury in a car wreck caused by someone else's negligence, then your case is probably worth a lot more. However, the big difference in a negligence/personal injury case and a workers' compensation case is the level of proof needed to prove your case.

    In a workers' compensation case, all you have to show is a compensable work injury resulting in disability. You don't have to prove that anyone was negligent, which is a VERY large difference. In other words, while you may get more money in a personal injury lawsuit, your likelihood of succeeding in that kind of case is much more difficult than in a workers' comp case. You trade getting more money that is certainly not guaranteed for getting less money that is, for all intents and purposes, guaranteed.

    Good luck to you.

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