Tennessee Noteworthy Cases Interpreting the AMA Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment – Sixth Edition

Tennessee Noteworthy Cases Interpreting the AMA Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment – Sixth Edition

In this Emerging Issues Analysis, Thomas A. Robinson analyzes noteworthy cases from Tennessee that interpret the AMA Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment. Robinson initially sets forth the relevant sections of the Tennessee Code.
 
“Tenn. Code Ann. § 50-6-204(d) provides (in part): (3) (A) To provide uniformity and fairness for all parties in determining the degree of anatomical impairment sustained by the employee, a physician, chiropractor or medical practitioner who is permitted to give expert testimony in a Tennessee court of law and who has provided medical treatment to an employee or who has examined or evaluated an employee seeking workers' compensation benefits shall utilize the applicable edition of the AMA Guides as established in § 50-6-102 or, in cases not covered by the AMA Guides, an impairment rating by any appropriate method used and accepted by the medical community.
 
“Tenn. Code Ann. § 50-6-102 provides: (2)"AMA guides" means the 6th edition of the American Medical Association Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment, American Medical Association, until a new edition is designated by the general assembly in accordance with § 50-6-204(d)(3)(C). The edition that is in effect on the date the employee is injured is the edition that shall be applicable to the claim
 
“A 2008 amendment substituted "6th edition" for "most recent edition" and added ", until a new edition is designated by the general assembly in accordance with § 50-6-204(d)(3)(C)" to the end; and deleted the former second sentence which read: ‘In the event of a release of a new edition of the publication in a given year, the new edition shall be deemed to be the most recent edition on January 1 of the year following its release.’”
 
He examines in detail cases dealing with the following:
  • Cases Involving Injury to Arm.
  • Cases Involving Injury to Back.
  • Case Involving Injury to Knee.
  • Case Involving Injury to Leg.
  • Case Involving Injury to Lung.
  • Case Involving Injury to Shoulder.
  • Cases Involving Other Issues.
 
 
 This article is excerpted from the new AMA Guides volume of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses (Matthew Bender) (to be published October 2009). This volume on the AMA Guides is intended to help attorneys, claims adjusters, and other personnel apply the AMA Guides to individual cases. Because most insurance law and workers’ compensation law is statutorily-derived and cases are adjudicated at the state level, it is important to be familiar with the impairment rating system used in each practitioner’s state. States have different philosophies, public policies, and laws regarding the use and application of the AMA Guides to individual claims administered in that state. To that end, this Volume attempts to capture court cases that have addressed the use of the AMA Guides methodology and impairment rating system, specific to each state.