Tennessee Workers’ Compensation

tennessee worker's compensation text overlaying image of nashville If you run a business and have employees, you’ll need to purchase Tennessee workers’ compensation insurance. In fact, this type of insurance is a requirement in most states, including Tennessee, with some exceptions. It helps pay your employees’ medical bills if they sustain an injury on the job. And limits your liability for workplace accidents, is a requirement in most states, including Tennessee, with some exceptions.

In Tennessee, business owners can expect to pay, on average, $0.87 for every $100 of covered payroll. That means, for example, a business with a total annual payroll of $100,000 will pay approximately $870 per year for workers’ compensation insurance, or around $72 a month. This is only a rough estimate, since factors such as your location, the different rates for staffing types (laborers vs office workers), and your claims history can all have a significant impact on your rates.

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One of the biggest factors in determining your rates for workers’ compensation insurance is your employees’ risk, or the likelihood of a workplace injury occurring at your business. To assist insurers in determining risk exposure, and to get the best rates for your business, you can use a variety of workers’ compensation class codes. This is important because it costs more to insure certain employees. For example, office employees may have lower workers’ compensation costs than those who work outside of your office and face more risks.


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What’s Covered

If one of your employees is injured at work or becomes ill because of workplace conditions. Workers’ compensation in Tennessee can help pay for their medical bills. The weekly average wage of an employee is used to calculate workers’ compensation benefits. The type of claim determines the exact amount.

The most important thing that workers’ compensation does is offer coverage for your injured employee’s medical treatment. This would include doctor’s appointments, hospital stays, and surgical procedures. Following a return to work, an employee may need ongoing care. Such as follow-up appointments or extra surgeries; workers’ compensation will also cover these medical bills.

Additionally, if the incident causes permanent or temporary disability, the employee will receive compensation in the form of weekly or lump sum payments. If your employee suffers a temporary disability, their injury is preventing them from performing their regular job while they recover. They have a permanent disability if a doctor determines that they will not fully recover from their injury. 

These two classifications fall into two subcategories:

  1. Temporary total disability (TTD) – These payments will be made if your employee is unable to work at all during their recovery.
  2. Temporary partial disability (TPD) – TPD payments will be made if your employee is still able to work, but with certain restrictions, such as requiring lighter duties or fewer hours. Even if your company does not provide work that meets these requirements, the employee may still be eligible for these payments.
  3. Permanent total disability (PTD) – If the accident or illness leaves your employee unable to work at all, even after recovery, they will be eligible for PTD payments.
  4. Permanent partial disability (PPD) – If an employee has permanent impairments but is able to work with those impairments, they will be eligible for PPD.


Tennessee’s Workers’ Compensation Death Benefits

In your state, if an employee dies as a result of a workplace injury or illness, their surviving dependents will be entitled to death benefits.

Wage replacement benefits can vary based on how many dependents are left behind:

  • If the deceased employee had no dependents, your insurer will pay the employee’s estate $20,000 in compensation.
  • If the employee has a surviving spouse but no dependent children, the insurer will pay 50% of the individual’s average weekly wage, up to the maximum weekly benefit allowed.
  • If the deceased worker leaves a surviving spouse and dependent children, the insurer will pay the surviving spouse two-thirds of the average weekly wage.

In Tennessee, workers’ compensation also covers burial expenses up to $10,000.


Tennessee’s Workers’ Compensation Laws

Workers’ compensation insurance is not only important to have, it is also required in most states, including in Tennessee. Workers’ compensation insurance is required in Tennessee for businesses with five or more employees, including family members, part-time workers, and corporate officers.

In addition, workers’ compensation is required for construction businesses or trades with one or more employees. You can, though, apply for an exemption if you are self-employed, a partner, a corporate officer, or a limited liability company (LLC) member of a construction firm. 

Coverage is also required for coal mining companies with employees.

Employers who are exempt from purchasing workers’ compensation insurance due to their size can still choose to have a policy. But in order to purchase one, they must file an “Exempt Employers Notice of Acceptance of the Tennessee Workers’ Compensation Act” with the Tennessee Bureau of Workers’ Compensation.

If you opt into carrying workers’ compensation insurance by submitting Form I-8, and you later decide to cancel your workers’ compensation insurance, you must notify the state using the same form.


How to Buy Workers’ Compensation Insurance

In Tennessee, you can buy a workers’ compensation insurance policy from a private insurance carrier that is licensed by the state to offer workers’ compensation insurance. 

If your business is considered high-risk, and you are unable to obtain workers’ compensation insurance through the voluntary market, you can obtain coverage through Tennessee’s assigned risk plan, which is managed by the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI). This is Tennessee’s last-resort workers’ compensation carrier.

If you meet certain criteria, you may also be able to self-insure your workers’ compensation claims. This means you will pay any workers’ compensation benefits out-of-pocket, instead of paying a premium and submitting claims to an insurance company.

To be eligible for self-insurance, you must apply to the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

If you need help finding a policy, Ez’s agents can help sort through all of your options, and find you the best workers’ comp insurance for your business.

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How to Get the Most Savings

The majority of the cost of workers’ compensation comes from factors beyond your control. However, there are still ways to save. Implementing a safety program is a great way to reduce workplace injuries and claims, which will lower your premiums. So regardless of your industry, it is important to have safety and standard operating procedures in place. Employees who have safety training are less vulnerable to injuries, lowering your workers’ compensation costs.

It is also a good idea to regularly review your claims history. Evaluating your claims history on a regular basis can help you identify and correct patterns. You might discover that certain aspects of your business operations are frequently causing claims. This allows you to adjust the operation to make it safer. You can save money by keeping an eye on potentially dangerous operations.

Correctly classifying your employees is one of the most effective ways to save money. When you apply for your workers’ compensation policy, you will classify each of your employees depending on their job’s risk. And this risk classification influences the cost of your workers’ compensation. For example, you might pay less to insure an office worker than you would a manual laborer. It’s also important to correctly classify your employees because you may receive a fine if you fail to do so.

Begin a free online application today to compare workers’ compensation insurance quotes for your small business from leading U.S. insurers. EZ’s agents specialize in insurance for a wide range of small businesses. Working with our agents can save you hundreds of dollars a year on coverage.


Tennessee Workers’ Compensation FAQs

  • Are you required to have workers’ compensation insurance in Tennessee?

Yes, businesses with 5 or more employees are legally required to hold workers’ compensation in your state. Violations of Tennessee’s workers’ compensation statute can result in severe penalties, including:

    • A 25% penalty for failing to pay (or failing to pay on time) the state’s mandated temporary disability benefits
    • A $5,000 fine for failing to comply with an order to get workers’ compensation in a timely manner
    • A fine for insurance companies or self-insured employers who fail to file claim forms with the state on time
  • How do workers’ compensation settlements work in Tennessee?

A workers’ compensation settlement is an agreement that ends a workers’ compensation claim made by an injured employee. Both the employee and you, the employer, benefit from this, since they get the compensation they need, and you get released from further liability.

Settlements of workers’ compensation claims are permitted by the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development. Under state law, the agreement must be reviewed and approved by a state workers’ compensation judge.

The workers’ compensation settlement process in Tennessee ensures that employees receive the benefits under state law, and that they are aware of their rights.

  • What is the statute of limitations in Tennessee?

Employees in Tennessee must file a workers’ compensation claim within one year of the date of injury or illness.


Why Use EZ

We do everything in our power to make shopping for workers’ compensation insurance as easy and stress-free as possible. And we give each of our customers our undivided attention. As soon as you fill out our form, you will receive instant, free quotes from your dedicated agent. Who will give you personalized service and will work to understand your needs. We want to ensure that you get the best coverage at the best price. Our services are completely free so check out your quotes today!

If you still have questions, feel free to give us a call at 877-670-3538. You will speak to a local insurance agent who can answer all of your questions. And help you find the workers’ compensation policy that works best for your business.

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About The Author:
Cassandra Love

With over a decade of helpful content experience Cassandra has dedicated her career to making sure people have access to relevant, easy to understand, and valuable information. After realizing a huge knowledge gap Cassandra spent years researching and working with health insurance companies to create accessible guides and articles to walk anyone through every aspect of the insurance process.

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