Sunday, July 31, 2011

TN Supreme Court Reviews a Workers' Compensation Award Based on a Rating Computed in a Settlement Agreement Rather than on a Physician's Assessment

ROBERT LAZAR v. J.W. ALUMINUM (Tenn. July 26, 2011)

An employee settled his claim for workers' compensation benefits. The settlement stated that the award of vocational disability benefits to which the parties agreed was not based on the medical impairment rating of either the treating physician or the employee's independent medical examiner.

After the employee was laid off, he sought reconsideration of his benefits pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated section 50-6-241(d)(1)(B)(iv) (2008). The chancery court declined to use the impairment rating of the treating physician or the independent medical examiner. The court further declined to base its increased award on a rating from an independent medical evaluation of the employee conducted after the settlement by a physician listed in the Medical Impairment Rating registry of the Tennessee Department of Labor. The chancery court instead awarded additional permanent partial disability benefits based on an impairment rating computed from the percentage of permanent partial disability reflected in the settlement. The employer appealed. We affirm the chancery court.

Opinion available at:

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