Tennessee Workers' Compensation laws & safety compliance analysis

Tennessee Workers' Compensation: What you need to know

Who Is Covered?

In Tennessee, all private sector employers with five or more employees must be covered by workers' compensation insurance. The only exceptions are the following:

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• Common carriers in interstate business who are covered under federal law

• Casual employees working outside the usual course of the employer's business

• Domestic servants

• Agricultural employees, unless their employer opts in

• Employees in workplaces employing fewer than five workers (the employer may elect coverage)

• Volunteer ski patrollers and other voluntary services

All persons engaged in the construction industry must carry workers' compensation insurance, including primary, intermediate, and subcontractors, no matter how many persons the contractor employs.

An employee leasing company is considered the employer for purposes of workers' compensation and must cover its employees. A license will not be issued to an employee leasing company until it provides evidence of workers' compensation coverage.

Coverage is voluntary for the state and its political subdivisions (TN Code Sec. 50-6-101et seq.).

What Is Covered?

"No-fault" system. Workers' compensation is a no-fault system. Unlike traditional legal mechanisms for compensating accident victims--which limits recovery to cases in which the victim's injuries result from some other person's negligence--workers' compensation laws allow employees to collect without regard to fault, simply by showing that the injury arose "out of and in the course of employment." Compensation is guaranteed in such cases. It doesn't matter that the employee (or a co-worker) was partly at fault, nor does it matter that the employee knew the job was risky. "Contributory negligence," "assumption of risk," and other ...


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