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What is considered "future medical bills" in Tennessee?


Determining the damages that should be awarded after a personal injury is often an involved process. As any Tennessee personal injury lawyer knows, compensation benefits must address a number of issues. These awards must include not only current medical expenses, but also rehabilitation costs. In some cases, a workplace injury may require months or even years of recovery time. These future medical bills may become quite costly. As such, the legal definitions and rules regarding these medical expenses are often very important.

Future medical bills under the Workers' Compensation Law

Under Tennessee's Workers' Compensation Law, employees hurt on the jobreceive coverage for all medical expenses related to their injuries. This includes benefits for continuing medical care, also known as future medical bills. These benefits may be applied to a number of medical needs, including the following:

  • Surgical treatments
  • Prescriptions
  • Psychological services
  • Hospitalization
  • Crutches
  • Nursing assistance

Future medical bill compensation will continue as long as it is necessary. These benefits will end when the worker's authorized physician determines that no more treatments are needed.

Allowed in settlements

As any Tennessee personal injury lawyer knows, in some cases parties may wish to reach a settlement on benefit issues. These agreements may provide an upfront lump sum payment to injured workers. Often, workers are paid an additional amount in exchange for a waiver of rights to future medical benefits.

Parties to a workers' compensation claim are only allowed to include future medical expenses in a settlement if certain requirements are met. These requirements include approval from a trial court, the commissioner or the commissioner's designee.

Valid workers' compensation settlements must also contain provisions confirming that the injured worker understands the agreement. The worker must also comprehend the impact the settlement may have on benefits and liabilities associated with Medicare and TennCare.

Not allowed in settlements

According to Tennessee's WCL, there are certain circumstances in which future medical bills may not be included in settlements. For example, when a worker suffers a permanent total disability, the parties to the claim are not allowed to waive future medical benefits.

Many of those who have been injured on the job are confused about their benefits. This is understandable, as workers' compensation laws have been debated and altered several times in the past few years. Many people find that these changes make the state's WCL more difficult to comprehend. This is especially true for those who are unfamiliar with legal terms. Those who are having trouble understanding the state's workers' compensation laws may want to consult a Tennessee personal injury lawyer. This may help to clarify some of these confusing issues.

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