Supreme Court Decision Important for Temporary Workers in Tennessee

by mdp | February 4th, 2013

justive_gavel_thumbThe Tennessee Supreme Court ruled on January 22 that an employee of a temporary agency who suffers an injury on the job, but is not returned to work by the temp agency at a wage equal to or greater than the pre-injury wage, may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits up to six times the medical impairment rating, as would a permanent employee in the same situation. If you have sustained a workplace injury in Tennessee, and you think you deserve greater benefits than you were awarded by the court, contact our knowledgeable attorneys at Michael D. Ponce & Associates as soon as possible. Our lawyers have experience handling workers’ compensation cases throughout the state of Tennessee, and will work diligently to help you pursue the workers’ comp benefits you are entitled to for your on-the-job injuries. With our reputable attorneys on your side, you can receive the medical attention you need and ensure that your medical expenses are taken care of.

Understanding TN Workers’ Compensation Statutes

In Timmy Dale Britt v. Dyer’s Employment Agency, Mr. Britt was employed by the agency and assigned to work at Mark IV in September 2008. At some point during his employment, Mr. Britt was injured on the job and sought medical attention for carpal tunnel syndrome, which ultimately required surgery. Afterward, the treating physician determined that the worker had a 4% permanent medical impairment. Shortly after sustaining the injury however, the worker’s assignment at Mark IV ended, and Dyer’s terminated his employment, which is typically what occurs when temporary assignments end. In awarding workers’ compensation benefits to Mr. Britt, the court considered statutes limiting awards either to:

  • One and one-half times the medical impairment rating if the worker returns to work for the same employer at a wage equal to or greater than the pre-injury wage; or
  • Six times the medical impairment rating if the employee does not return to work for the pre-injury employer.

Despite the fact that Mr. Britt did not return to work, the workers’ compensation court applied the lesser award based on the temporary nature of the worker’s employment arrangement.

Consult Our Experienced Attorneys for Legal Help

According to the Supreme Court, the aforementioned statutes do not distinguish between temporary and permanent employees in Tennessee. Based on this finding then, the Supreme Court held that, because the employer neither returned the injured employee to work, nor offered him an opportunity to return to work, nor terminated his employment for misconduct, the statute awarding benefits up to six times the medical impairment rating applied in Mr. Britt’s situation. This decision is an important one for workers in Tennessee, especially those who are employed by a temporary agency and may not understand what benefits they are entitled to in the event of a workplace injury. If you have been injured on the job in Tennessee, consult our experienced lawyers at Michael D. Ponce & Associates to discuss your legal options. Our attorneys are dedicated to helping injured workers pursue the compensation they deserve for their injuries, and will work to help you do just that.