In Tennessee, most employers are required to have workers’ compensation insurance. This requirement is largely contingent on the type of industry and the number of employees at a given time. Workers’ comp insurance provides benefits, such as wage replacement and medical coverage, that aid an injured or disabled worker’s recovery and return to work.
When an employee accepts workers’ compensation benefits, they are essentially waiving their right to sue their employer for negligence.
This brief overview of workers’ comp will inform you for how to best handle the situation in the event that you are injured in the workplace in the state of Tennessee. It advised that you consult with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney before choosing to waive your rights or making any other decision that could have harmful effects on your future.
Flexer Law offers free legal consultations.
What Should an Employee Do If Injured at Work?
If you are injured in the workplace, you must notify your supervisor of the incident within 15 calendar days of the date of the injury or when you have a doctor’s confirmation that injury is in fact work-related. Reporting the injury sooner can help expedite your claim. If the injury requires emergency medical treatment you should be taken to the ER of the nearest hospital.
The proper forms and paperwork need to be filled out by your supervisor in order to qualify for workers’ comp. These forms can be found on the Department of Labor and Workforce Development’s website. If your supervisor does not fill the forms out, you can fill them out so there will never be any question about notice of the injury.
It is illegal for an employer to terminate your employment for reporting a workplace injury. If you believe you were fired for reporting a work-related injury, we recommend that you consult an attorney, as the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation does not resolve wrongful termination claims.
In the state of Tennessee, the statute of limitations on filing a workers’ compensation claim (From C-40B) is one calendar year from the date of the injury or illness.
Selecting a Doctor for a Workers’ Comp Claim
Your employer should provide you with a panel of doctors to choose from. In workers’ comp cases this doctor is referred to as the authorized treating physician. Whichever physician you choose will provide the medical treatments you need to return to health, and ultimately, return to work.
All of the medical treatment you receive for your work-related injury will be paid for by your employer. You will be required to sign an agreement (Form C-42) that acknowledges that you have selected an authorized treating physician to handle your claim. In the event that your injury requires emergency treatment, the panel will be provided after the injury is stabilized.
Be sure to keep meticulous records and documentation throughout your workers’ compensation claim. Get copies of all forms and agreements.
Workers’ Comp Benefits
If the authorized treating physician of your choosing has deemed your injury to be work-related, you may be entitled to receive the following benefits.
Coverage of Medical Treatment
Your employer will be responsible for paying all medical expenses that result from your injury for as long as the authorized treating physician requires. In the event that the insurance company has denied medical treatment recommended by your doctor, an appeal can be submitted for consideration.
Reimbursement for Travel Expenses
You can request mileage reimbursement for commuting to and from any medical treatment that is greater than 15 miles one way.
Wage replacement comes in the form of temporary disability benefits that replace lost wages related to your injury. This benefit begins on the eighth day of your disability. If the period of your disability exceeds fourteen days, benefits will be back paid to the first day of your disability.
Wage replacement for temporary disability is typically two-thirds of your average weekly wages over the last year. This is paid by your employer’s insurance company. In the event that you are able to work under restricted conditions, you may be entitled to receive partial disability benefits.
It is very important that you adhere to your doctor’s orders. If they authorize you to work at reduced capacity, and you fail to report for duty, you may be at risk of losing all of your workers’ comp benefits.
If a doctor feels you will have permanent impairment, you may be entitled to receive a lump sum settlement once you’re released from the doctor’s care.
What To Do If Your Claim Is Denied?
Insurance adjusters will deny claims when they believe the injury was not work-related, therefore, not covered by workers’ compensation. If your claim is denied, you have the right to challenge the decision. Enlisting an experienced workers’ comp attorney at the onset can help you tremendously while navigating the process.
Tennessee Workers’ Compensation Attorney
It is highly advisable that you hire an attorney for a worker’s comp claim. Flexer Law has been serving the legal needs of Middle Tennessee residents since 1981. We can ensure that you meet the necessary deadlines while providing the knowledge and experience to help you understand your options.
If you were injured in a workplace accident as the result of employer negligence, contact Flexer Law today to schedule a free legal consultation. If you are worried about the cost of hiring a workers’ compensation attorney, don’t be. We offer payment plans to ease the burden.