Medical Restrictions and Limitations in a Tennessee Workers Compensation Case
MEDICAL RESTRICTIONS WHILE UNDER DOCTORS CARE
Medical Restrictions are important throughout your Tennessee Work Comp case. To begin, while you are under a doctor's care you may be given temporary medical restrictions. These restrictions can range from remaining completely off work to simply putting limitations on specific activities like lifting, pulling, pushing, standing or walking. To be binding on your employer the medical restrictions should be given from your approved treating workers compensation doctor. These restrictions will dictate what, if any, temporary pay benefits you may be entitled to while you are under medical care. For example, if you doctor puts you on medical restrictions that your employer cannot accommodate then you may be entitled to a temporary total disability check while you work. If your employer can partially accommodate your restrictions you may be entitled to temporary partial disability benefits. Temporary Partial Disability benefits is a payment for 66 2/3% of the difference between your pre-injury check and your post injury check while you remain partially disabled. Finally, if your employer can put you back to work without violating your medical restrictions you would not get a workers compensation check. However, it is important that the employer truly abide by the medical restrictions. If they are not doing so a complaint can be filed with the Tennessee Department of Labor.
MEDICAL RESTRICTIONS AFTER BEING RELEASED
After releasing you from medical care, the treating physician should determine whether you need permanent restrictions and limitations as a result of your workers’ compensation injury. These restrictions will often dictate what type of work you can and cannot do in the future. Obviously, the more severe the restrictions, the less job opportunities a person will have. Accordingly, if an injured Tennessee worker has significant medical restrictions, they are usually entitled to more compensation for their injury. This is obviously because the restrictions will have a significant impact on their ability to earn a living and obtain employment. Additionally, if your injury occurred after July 1, 2014 your doctor may give an opinion as to whether your restrictions will keep you from returning to your old employment. If they do then the value of the case can change dramatically which can help you recover your lost future wages.
It is also important to note, however, that even if a doctor does not give significant restrictions, an injured worker is still entitled to compensation for a permanent injury. Medical restrictions are given to keep a patient from re-injuring themselves or making a condition worse. Sometimes these restrictions are not necessary and a doctor will simply tell a patient something like “let pain be your limiting factor”. Many physicians use the common sense approach that pain is the body’s way of telling you to limit certain activities. The Tennessee Comp Law also recognizes this and, therefore, an employee can testify as to their own physical limitations. For example, if a truck driver has a back injury, but not restrictions, they can still testify that the injury prevents them from driving a truck for long periods. A court can consider this testimony when determining the value of a claim.
If you have question about your Tennessee Work Comp Claim, please feel free to contact our office.