2010 Tennessee Code
Title 50 - Employer And Employee
Chapter 6 - Workers' Compensation Law
Part 1 - General Provisions
50-6-102 - Chapter definitions.

50-6-102. Chapter definitions.

As used in this chapter, unless the context otherwise requires:

     (1)  “Administrator” means the chief administrative officer of the division of workers' compensation of the department of labor and workforce development;

     (2)  “AMA guides”  means the 6th edition of the American Medical Association Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment, American Medical Association, until a new edition is designated by the general assembly in accordance with § 50-6-204(d)(3)(C). The edition that is in effect on the date the employee is injured is the edition that shall be applicable to the claim;

     (3)  (A)  “Average weekly wages” means the earnings of the injured employee in the employment in which the injured employee was working at the time of the injury during the period of fifty-two (52) weeks immediately preceding the date of the injury divided by fifty-two (52); but if the injured employee lost more than seven (7) days during the period when the injured employee did not work, although not in the same week, then the earnings for the remainder of the fifty-two (52) weeks shall be divided by the number of weeks remaining after the time so lost has been deducted;

          (B)  Where the employment prior to the injury extended over a period of less than fifty-two (52) weeks, the method of dividing the earnings during that period by the number of weeks and parts of weeks during which the employee earned wages shall be followed; provided, that results just and fair to both parties will be obtained;

          (C)  Where, by reason of the shortness of the time during which the employee has been in the employment of the employer, it is impracticable to compute the average weekly wages as defined in this subdivision (3), regard shall be had to the average weekly amount that, during the first fifty-two (52) weeks prior to the injury or death, was being earned by a person in the same grade, employed at the same work by the same employer, and if there is no such person so employed, by a person in the same grade employed in the same class of employment in the same district;

          (D)  Wherever allowances of any character made to any employee in lieu of wages are specified as part of the wage contract, they shall be deemed a part of the employee's earnings;

     (4)  “Benefit review conference” means a nonadversarial, informal dispute resolution proceeding to mediate and resolve workers' compensation disputes as provided in this chapter;

     (5)  “Case management” means medical case management or the ongoing coordination of medical care services provided to an injured or disabled employee on all cases where medical care expenses are expected to exceed a threshold;

     (6)  “Commissioner” means the commissioner of labor and workforce development;

     (7)  “Construction design professional” means:

          (A)  Any person possessing a valid registration or license entitling that person to practice the technical profession of architecture, engineering, landscape architecture or land surveying in this state;

          (B)  Any corporation, partnership, firm or other legal entity authorized by law to engage in the technical profession of architecture, engineering, landscape architecture or land surveying in this state; or

          (C)  Any person, firm or corporation providing interior space planning or design in this state;

     (8)  “Department” means the department of labor and workforce development;

     (9)  “Division” or “division of workers' compensation” means the division of workers' compensation of the department of labor and workforce development;

     (10)  (A)  “Employee” includes every person, including a minor, whether lawfully or unlawfully employed, the president, any vice president, secretary, treasurer or other executive officer of a corporate employer without regard to the nature of the duties of the corporate officials, in the service of an employer, as employer is defined in subdivision (11), under any contract of hire or apprenticeship, written or implied. Any reference in this chapter to an employee who has been injured shall, where the employee is dead, also include the employee's legal representatives, dependents and other persons to whom compensation may be payable under this chapter;

          (B)  “Employee” includes a sole proprietor or a partner who devotes full time to the proprietorship or partnership and elects to be included in the definition of employee by filing written notice of the election with the division at least thirty (30) days before the occurrence of any injury or death, and may at any time withdraw the election by giving notice of the withdrawal to the division;

          (C)  The provisions of this subdivision (10), allowing a sole proprietor or a partner to elect to come under this chapter, shall not be construed to deny coverage of the sole proprietor or partner under any individual or group accident and sickness policy the sole proprietor or partner may have in effect, in cases where the sole proprietor or partner has elected not to be covered by the provisions of the Workers' Compensation Law, for injuries sustained by the sole proprietor or partner that would have been covered by the provisions of the Workers' Compensation Law had the election been made, notwithstanding any provision of the accident and sickness policy to the contrary. Nothing in this section shall require coverage of occupational injuries or sicknesses, if occupational injuries or sicknesses are not covered under the terms of the policy without reference to eligibility for workers' compensation benefits;

          (D)  In a work relationship, in order to determine whether an individual is an “employee,” or whether an individual is a “subcontractor” or an “independent contractor,” the following factors shall be considered:

                (i)  The right to control the conduct of the work;

                (ii)  The right of termination;

                (iii)  The method of payment;

                (iv)  The freedom to select and hire helpers;

                (v)  The furnishing of tools and equipment;

                (vi)  Self-scheduling of working hours; and

                (vii)  The freedom to offer services to other entities;

     (11)  “Employer” includes any individual, firm, association or corporation, the receiver or trustee of the individual, firm, association or corporation, or the legal representative of a deceased employer, using the services of not less than five (5) persons for pay, except as provided in § 50-6-113, and, in the case of an employer engaged in the mining and production of coal, one (1) employee for pay. If the employer is insured, it shall include the employer's insurer, unless otherwise provided in this chapter;

     (12)  “Injury” and “personal injury” mean an injury by accident arising out of and in the course of employment that causes either disablement or death of the employee and shall include occupational diseases arising out of and in the course of employment that cause either disablement or death of the employee and shall include a mental injury arising out of and in the course of employment;

     (13)  “Maximum total benefit” means the sum of all weekly benefits to which a worker may be entitled;

          (A)  For injuries occurring between July 1, 1990, and June 30, 1991, the maximum total benefit shall be one hundred nine thousand two hundred dollars ($109,200);

          (B)  For injuries occurring on or after July 1, 1991, and before August 1, 1992, the maximum total benefit shall be one hundred seventeen thousand six hundred dollars ($117,600);

          (C)  For injuries occurring on or after July 1, 1992, the maximum total benefit shall be four hundred (400) weeks times the maximum weekly benefit except in instances of permanent total disability; and

          (D)  For injuries occurring on or after July 1, 2009, the maximum total benefit shall be four hundred (400) times one hundred percent (100%) of the state's average weekly wage, as determined pursuant to subdivision (14)(B), except in instances of permanent total disability. Temporary total disability benefits paid to the injured worker shall not be included in calculating the maximum total benefit;

     (14)  (A)  “Maximum weekly benefit” means the maximum compensation payable to the worker per week;

                (i)  For injuries occurring between July 1, 1990, and June 30, 1991, the maximum weekly benefit shall be two hundred seventy-three dollars ($273) per week;

                (ii)  For injuries occurring on or after July 1, 1991, and before August 1, 1992, the maximum weekly benefit shall be two hundred ninety-four dollars ($294) per week;

                (iii)  For injuries occurring on or after August 1, 1992, and through June 30, 1993, the maximum weekly benefit shall be sixty-six and two-thirds percent (662/3%) of the employee's average weekly wage up to seventy-eight percent (78%) of the state's average weekly wage, as determined by the department;

                (iv)  For injuries occurring on or after July 1, 1993, and through June 30, 1994, the maximum weekly benefit shall be sixty-six and two-thirds percent (662/3%) of the employee's average weekly wage up to eighty-two and four-tenths percent (82.4%) of the state's average weekly wage, as determined by the department;

                (v)  For injuries occurring on or after July 1, 1994, and through June 30, 1995, the maximum weekly benefit shall be sixty-six and two-thirds percent (662/3%) of the employee's average weekly wage up to eighty-six and eight-tenths percent (86.8%) of the state's average weekly wage, as determined by the department;

                (vi)  For injuries occurring on or after July 1, 1995, and through June 30, 1996, the maximum weekly benefit shall be sixty-six and two-thirds percent (662/3%) of the employee's average weekly wage up to ninety-one and two-tenths percent (91.2%) of the state's average weekly wage, as determined by the department;

                (vii)  For injuries occurring on or after July 1, 1996, and through June 30, 1997, the maximum weekly benefit shall be sixty-six and two-thirds percent (662/3%) of the employee's average weekly wage up to ninety-five and six-tenths percent (95.6%) of the state's average weekly wage as determined by the department;

                (viii)  For injuries occurring on or after July 1, 1997, and through June 30, 2004, the maximum weekly benefit shall be sixty-six and two-thirds percent (662/3%) of the employee's average weekly wage up to one hundred percent (100%) of the state's average weekly wage as determined by the department;

                (ix)  For injuries occurring on or after July 1, 2004, the maximum weekly benefit for permanent disability benefits shall be sixty-six and two-thirds percent (662/3%) of the employee's average weekly wage up to one hundred percent (100%) of the state's average weekly wage, as determined by the department; and

                (x)  (a)  For injuries occurring on or after July 1, 2004, through June 30, 2005, the maximum weekly benefit for temporary disability benefits shall be sixty-six and two-thirds percent (662/3%) of the employee's average weekly wage up to one hundred five percent (105%) of the state's average weekly wage, as determined by the department; and

                     (b)  For injuries occurring on or after July 1, 2005, the maximum weekly benefit for temporary disability benefits shall be sixty-six and two-thirds percent (662/3%) of the employee's average weekly wage up to one hundred ten percent (110%) of the state's average weekly wage, as determined by the department;

          (B)  As used in subdivision (14)(A), the state average weekly wage shall be determined as of the preceding January 1, and shall be adjusted annually using the data from the division and shall be effective on July 1 of each year;

     (15)  “Mental injury” means a loss of mental faculties or a mental or behavioral disorder where the proximate cause is a compensable physical injury resulting in a permanent disability, or an identifiable work-related event resulting in a sudden or unusual mental stimulus. A mental injury shall not include a psychological or psychiatric response due to the loss of employment or employment opportunities;

     (16)  “Minimum weekly benefit” means the minimum compensation per week payable to the worker;

          (A)  For injuries occurring between July 1, 1985, and June 30, 1986, the minimum weekly benefit shall be twenty dollars ($20.00) per week;

          (B)  For injuries occurring between July 1, 1986, and June 30, 1987, the minimum weekly benefit shall be twenty-five dollars ($25.00) per week;

          (C)  For injuries occurring between July 1, 1987, and June 30, 1988, the minimum weekly benefit shall be thirty dollars ($30.00) per week;

          (D)  For injuries occurring on or after July 1, 1988, and before July 1, 1993, the minimum weekly benefit shall be thirty-five dollars ($35.00) per week; and

          (E)  For injuries occurring on or after July 1, 1993, the minimum weekly benefit shall be fifteen percent (15%) of the state's average weekly wage, as determined by the department;

     (17)  “Utilization review” means evaluation of the necessity, appropriateness, efficiency and quality of medical care services provided to an injured or disabled employee based on medically accepted standards and an objective evaluation of those services provided; provided, that “utilization review” does not include the establishment of approved payment levels or a review of medical charges or fees; and

     (18)  “Workers' compensation specialist” or “specialist” means a department employee who provides information and communication services regarding workers' compensation for employees and employers, and who conducts benefit review conferences and performs other duties as provided in this chapter.

[Acts 1919, ch. 123, § 2; 1923, ch. 84, § 2; Shan. Supp., § 3608a138; Code 1932, § 6852; Acts 1941, ch. 90, § 1; 1947, ch. 139, § 1; C. Supp. 1950, § 6852; Acts 1961, ch. 184, § 1; 1963, ch. 362, § 2; 1971, ch. 300, § 1; 1977, ch. 339, § 1; 1978, ch. 499, § 1; 1978, ch. 687, § 1; impl. am. Acts 1980, ch. 534, §§ 1, 3; Acts 1981, ch. 239, § 1; T.C.A. (orig. ed.), § 50-902; Acts 1985, ch. 393, § 1; 1988, ch. 923, § 1; 1990, ch. 990, § 1; 1991, ch. 225, § 1; 1992, ch. 900, §§ 2, 19, 20, 28; 1997, ch. 330, § 1; 1999, ch. 520, § 41; 2002, ch. 833, §§ 4, 5; 2004, ch. 962, §§ 22, 23, 32; 2008, ch. 1025, § 1; 2009, ch. 599, §§ 1-3.]  

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