Legal Memorandum: Permanent Vocational Disability in TN

Issue: What is the standard for finding that a person is permanently and totally disabled according to Tennessee law?

Area of Law: Employee Law, Litigation & Procedure, Workers Compensation Insurance
Keywords: Permanent and total disability; Standards for the determination; Cold neutrality of an impartial court
Jurisdiction: Tennessee
Cited Cases: 62 S.W.3d 123; 38 S.W.3d 560; 722 S.W.2d 380; 160 S.W.3d 495
Cited Statutes: Tenn. Code § 50-6-207(4)
Date: 12/01/2005

  The court reviews de novo the trial court record, accompanied by a presumption of correctness unless the preponderance of the evidence shows otherwise.  Walker v. Saturn Corp., 986 S.W.2d 204, 207 (Tenn. 1998) TA l "Walker v. Saturn Corp., 986 S.W.2d 204 (Tenn. 1998)" s "Walker v. Saturn Corp. (Tenn. 1998)" c 1 .  Because the question and extent of permanent vocational disability are questions of fact, the court also reviews these issues de novoId. at 207 TA s "Walker v. Saturn Corp. (Tenn. 1998)" .  The court is not bound by the trial court’s factual findings, but examines them in depth, conducting an independent examination to determine where the preponderance of the evidence lies.  Id TA s "Walker v. Saturn Corp. (Tenn. 1998)" .

The applicable code is the Tenn. Code § 50-6-207(4) (2005) TA l "Tenn. Code Ann. § 50-6-207(4) (2005)" s "Tenn. Code Ann. § 50-6-207(4) (2005)" c 2 .  Tennessee law defines permanent total disability as  “When an injury not specifically provided for in this chapter, as amended, totally incapacitates the employee from working at an occupation that brings the employee an income, such employee shall be considered ‘totally disabled,’ and for such disability compensation shall be paid as provided in subdivision (4)(A).”  Id., § 50-6-207(4)(B) (2005) TA s "Tenn. Code Ann. § 50-6-207(4) (2005)" .  A permanent total disability assessment is based on many factors, including the employee’s training and skills, his or her age, education, and capacity to work at the type of employment available in his or her […]

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