Know Your Rights Under Tennessee Workers’ Compensation
The workers’ compensation process can be complex and confusing. Unfortunately, you cannot count on your employer for information or advice. Employers and their insurers have their own interests to protect. They may even be hostile to your claim.
At Blount Law Firm, PLLC, we are squarely on your side. Our job is to make sure you are treated fairly and get the benefits you deserve for a work-related injury or illness. Our knowledgeable and compassionate attorneys will guide you through every step of the process.
How Does Workers’ Comp Work In Tennessee?
Before workers’ compensation, injured workers had to sue their employers to recover compensation for the medical bills, loss of income and permanent harm. Workers’ comp is a no-fault system. The employer covers your medical treatment and lost wages, regardless of fault, as long as it was work-related.
The trade-off is that you cannot sue your employer or co-workers even if their negligence or actions directly caused your injury. Workers’ comp is the exclusive remedy, with one loophole: you can sue a third party for personal injuries, such as a subcontractor on a construction site or a motorist who crashed into your work vehicle.
You must report your accident, injury or illness to your employer in a timely fashion. Failure to notify the employer or a lag time in reporting a workplace accident can hurt your claim.
You must seek medical treatment from a list of authorized treating physicians approved by your employer. In other words, you can’t see your regular doctors. You should never be billed for any medical treatment associated with your work injury.
Your employer opens a workers’ compensation claim. You will provide certain information about what happened, the nature of your injuries and your medical treatment.
The employer’s insurance provider processes your claim. Wage loss benefits (temporary disability) do not begin until you have been out of work for seven days. If your disability lasts 14 or more days, your benefits will be backdated to the first day of disability.
You Have Rights And We Can Enforce Them
You can appeal a denied claim. Insurers might deny your claim on technicalities, or the claims adjuster may determine it is not a compensable work injury. Contact a workers’ compensation lawyer if you have not already done so. The Tennessee Bureau of Workers’ Compensation has ombudsmen who will help resolve disputes, but you will have a much better chance of success with legal counsel on your side.
Our attorneys have a proven record of success before the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board. We know the laws and the procedures. We know what documentation is needed to support your claim that you are disabled because of a workplace accident or working conditions.
You can appeal a disability rating. If you have a lasting injury, the doctor will assign a percentage rating which in turn determines the level of your disability benefits. You can seek a second opinion (at your expense) and challenge an artificially low disability rating.
You can fight a denial of medical treatment. The insurance company wants to limit your medical expenses. They may refuse to authorize surgery or any other needed treatment. We can help you appeal the decision to get the care you need to heal.
You can fight a termination of benefits. The insurer and their doctors may declare you recovered or fit to return to light duty before you feel you are ready to return to work. Their goal is to close your workers’ comp claim. If you have been disabled for a year or more, the insurer can require you to submit to an independent medical exam (IME). We will fight any attempt to send you back to work prematurely or shut down your medical benefits.
Also see our Workers’ Comp FAQ
We Are Ready To Fight For You
Our attorneys will educate you about your rights and stand up for you in the claims and appeals process. Blount Law Firm, PLLC, has represented injured workers in Collierville, Germantown and Shelby County for more than 70 years. Call us today at 901-617-1196 or contact us online to arrange a free consultation.