How a Change in Condition Can Affect Your Workers’ Compensation Benefits

by mdp | March 25th, 2013

workerscompIn Tennessee, temporary or permanent disability benefits are available to workers whose on-the-job injuries render them unable to perform their previous work duties or obtain suitable employment. There is, however, a clause in Tennessee’s workers’ compensation laws called “change in condition,” which gives an employer the opportunity to suspend an injured worker’s benefits if it is believed that the worker’s condition has improved enough to allow him or her to return to unrestricted work duties, or under some other circumstances. If you have been injured at work in Tennessee, and you are at risk of having your workers’ compensation benefits reduced or suspended, contact our reputable attorneys at Michael D. Ponce & Associates to discuss your legal options.

Understanding “Change in Condition”

Under Tennessee law, a change in condition is defined as “a change in the wage-earning capacity, physical condition, or status of an employee or other beneficiary covered by this chapter, which change must have occurred after the date on which the wage-earning capacity, physical condition or status of the employee or other beneficiary was last established by award or otherwise.” There are two ways in which a change in condition can affect an employee’s workers’ compensation benefits:

  • Change in condition for the better – In cases where the worker has not returned to work, the employer may demonstrate that the worker has undergone a change in condition for the better, thus suspending his or her benefits. The employer can achieve this by showing that the worker has actually returned to work, that he or she has the ability to return to work, or that the worker’s disability is not related to the on-the-job injury.
  • Change in condition for the worse – In cases where the employee has returned to work or where the treating physician has released the employee to return to work without restrictions, it is the worker’s responsibility to show that he or she is entitled to continued workers’ compensation benefits. The worker can do this by showing that he or she has suffered total physical disability or partial physical disability as well as economic disability.

Contact Our Experienced Attorneys for Legal Help

Tennessee’s workers’ compensation system was established as a means of protecting the rights of workers injured on the job throughout the state, and providing critical financial assistance for injured workers who are unable to return to work temporarily or indefinitely. Unfortunately, an injured worker’s disability benefits can be significantly reduced or completely suspended if his or her employer demonstrates the worker’s change in condition for the better. If you have suffered injuries on the job in Tennessee, and you believe you are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits, consult our lawyers at Michael D. Ponce & Associates today for qualified legal help.