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Though Tennessee’s workers’ compensation laws generally prohibit employees from suing their employers when injured on the job, an attorney can still be extremely helpful when dealing with workers’ compensation claims.
With years of experience handling workers’ compensation claims, the attorneys in Morgan & Morgan’s Nashville office understand the tricks and tactics used by employers and insurance companies to avoid paying full benefits. We know how to protect your rights and can help increase your chances of filing a successful claim or appeal. Injuries on the job can be stressful, especially if you have to deal with negotiations with your own employer. We’re here not only to make sure you get the medical treatment you are entitled to after an injury, but help make things as easy as possible for you in your time of need.
What To Know About Your Workers’ Compensation Claim
- If you are injured on the job, you have to report the incident to your employer either within 30 days of the injury, or within 30 days of a doctor’s visit for the injury. The faster an on-the-job injury is reported, the faster your claim can be handled.
- Your supervisor, after the report, should provide you a panel of 3 or more doctors that are willing to provide workers’ compensation medical treatment (4 doctors if it is a back injury). You can choose from these doctors, and the doctor you choose determines whether or not your injury was work-related.
- If they say it was not work-related, or if you feel like your claim was undervalued, you are allowed to get a second opinion from a doctor of your choosing at your own expense.
- If they determine that it was work-related, however, you could be eligible to receive medical treatment at no cost to you.
- If you are denied workers’ compensation benefits or feel you were undervalued, you and your attorney can file an appeal, and your claim will be heard by Tennessee’s Court of Workers’ Compensation Claims.
- It is illegal to fire an employee for reporting a work injury. If you think that this was the reason for your firing, contact Morgan & Morgan; we also have attorneys who specialize in wrongful termination.
If you’re lucky, a workers’ compensation claim can be quick and simple. But sometimes it isn’t, and that’s when it helps to have a workers’ compensation lawyer.
Does My Employer Have Workers’ Compensation Insurance?
The law in Tennessee states that any employer with more than five employees must offer workers’ compensation coverage - and that includes both full-time and part-time employees. The only exception for this are construction and coal mining employers, in which they’re required to have coverage regardless of how many people they employ.
Essentially, there is a very good chance that if you sustain an injury on the job, you are within your rights to file a workers’ compensation claim, as they’re likely to have insurance. Still, it’s important to double check that your employer does, in fact, offer it.
How Can a Morgan & Morgan Attorney Help Me?
The attorneys in Morgan & Morgan’s Nashville office help injured workers file claims for benefits, as well as those whose claims have been denied. Claims can be complicated, and appeals can be even trickier, especially if you and your attorney suspect that your employer’s insurance company tried to minimize the fault of the employer.
Our attorneys can also help you pick one of the authorized physicians your employer provided you with. That doctor has to perform an independent medical exam (IME) to evaluate and diagnose your injury and write you any necessary prescriptions. In addition, if these company-approved doctors try to minimize your injury or recommend that you return to work before a totally healed injury, we can help navigate that. We can help you find an additional doctor for your second opinion.
This, more than anything, is what we do for you in workers’ compensation claims - help make sure you avoid common pitfalls and end your claim with the full treatment you deserve.
What Lawsuits Can Come From Workers’ Compensation Claims?
Very rarely does an official lawsuit stem from workers’ compensation claims. The workers’ compensation system is meant to be beneficial to the employee and the employer.
There are a few exceptions, however, where a lawsuit could get filed. One exception is if your employer employs less than 5 people, and does not offer workers’ compensation insurance. In a situation like this, you could possibly file a lawsuit to get compensated for your injuries.
As mentioned earlier, you are also entitled to an attorney to help you with a case if you have been fired after filing a workers’ compensation claim. This is also true if you have been demoted after filing your claim, or any other sort of retaliation.
The most common lawsuit that arises from workers’ compensation, however, is called a third-party lawsuit. This is a lawsuit for if another party had an involvement in your injury besides your employer. Often, this can mean a company or manufacturer.
For example, a construction worker is using a swinging crane to move a large pile of wood when the pulley on the crane suddenly fails and causes the wood to fall on another worker, who suffers neck and back injuries and can no longer work in the construction industry. In addition to filing a workers’ compensation claim, the injured construction worker may also be able to file a third-party lawsuit against the manufacturer of the defective machine, and seek additional compensation for his injuries.
We Can Help You With Your Claim
You deserve to rest easy and stress-free after an injury. If you were injured on the job in Nashville and would like help evaluating your options, contact us today to have your case reviewed, free of charge.