Jackson, TN Workers’ Compensation Lawyers
Representing Workers Injured on the Job
Workers’ compensation clients are often unsure if they need to obtain legal advice or representation following a job personal injury. In NST Law’s experience, it is far better to seek out legal help for one’s work injuries than to approach a claim on an individual basis. The list below explains a few reasons why this is the case:
- It is not uncommon for employers to deny or question the legitimacy of an employee’s workers’ compensation claim. In such a case, a personal injury attorney with years of experience can overcome the burden of proof in highly technical employment law cases by showing a link between the work accident and the resulting injury or wrongful death.
- A workers’ compensation attorney will increase the likelihood and amount of financial compensation for an employee. Let’s say, for instance, an injured worker does not have all of his or her medical treatment covered by employer medical benefits, or costs are improperly calculated by the insurance company.
- A client may have a claim against a third party that is not within the insurance coverage provided by the employer. For example, an injured employee may have had a permanent disability brought on by a defectively designed machine, in which case a lawsuit and potential trial may be split between workers’ compensation and tort claims.
- A Tennessee employer may argue that the employee had a pre-existing condition unrelated to their work-related injury claim. If this happens, the insurance company may refuse to extend care benefits, disability benefits, or lost wages.
What are workers' compensation benefits?
The U.S. Department of labor limits workers’ compensation benefits to those employees with legitimate workplace injuries. Once successfully proven, the worker may seek wage replacement benefits, access to compensation programs such as vocational rehabilitation, medical treatment, and the like.
Also accessible to Tennessee injured people are the benefits under the Tennessee Workers’ Compensation Act. Tennessee law provides for medical benefits, which covers medical bills associated with employment-related injuries or illnesses, and for partial wage replacement, which covers some wage costs while an employee is in the process of recovering or is rendered unable to practice in his or her work setting.
What types of injuries qualify for workers' compensation benefits?
Employees injured while working in Jackson, TN, do not need to have a particular type of injury to qualify for any form of workers’ comp benefits. Instead, they must follow the necessary Tennessee procedures for filing a claim and establishing that their injuries were directly created from work activities. On the flip side, a handful of injury types usually don’t qualify as a work-related cause. These include psychological disorders such as anxiety, accidents that occur due to employees engaging in horseplay while on the job, and injuries that occurred while the employee was intoxicated or otherwise under the influence of a controlled substance. The reason for the difficulty associated with claiming workers’ compensation benefits under these types of injuries is public policy. If an employee was not adhering to company protocol while he or she gets injured or suffers from a psychological disorder that outside factors may cause, it makes less sense to compensate an employee.
With this in mind, various types of injuries commonly qualify for workers’ compensation benefits in Jackson, TN, and in general. These include:
- Slips and Falls – For employees working with or around substances, the likelihood of them slipping or falling is increased absent protective measures. One such example is a grocery store employee cleaning up a spill in a grocery aisle.
- Cutting Accidents on Machinery – For those jobs that require using heavy equipment, the risks of cutting and abrasions are high. For instance, someone who works in a butcher shop may need to use a saw for his or her work.
- Workplace Violence – While not typically considered a workers’ compensation injury, employees have been successfully pursuing claims for violence against them by others while on the job. This includes police officers and security guards, where physical aspects such as force are sometimes inherent in the job.
What do workers' compensation benefits cover?
Tennessee’s Bureau of Workers’ Compensation lays out what benefits cover. These are:
- Medical care costs – treatment is provided at no expense to the employee so long as it is given by a doctor who is authorized by the state.
- Expenses associated with travel that is in excess of 15 miles one way. An example of this would be the cost of travel to see a specialist who is 20 miles away.
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Claims – PTSD claims can also be valid workers’ compensation claims. For example, an employee who is a victim of a shooting, robbery, or other traumatizing event while in the course and scope of employment, may suffer from PTSD. In those cases, those employees would be able to file PTSD claims.
- Wage Replacement – whether temporary or permanent in nature, an injury may prevent an employee’s ability to work and earn a wage for him or herself. This benefit protects that need.
How long can you stay on workers' comp?
Tennessee statutory law limits the length of time an injured claimant may receive state workers’ compensation benefits. This is for various reasons, including public policy concerns about the cost, the interests in getting the employees back to work, and more.
Tennessee currently limits both short-term (or temporary) and permanent disability benefits to a period of 450 weeks, or approximately 9 years. The length of time allocated to an employee depends on a variety of factors, including but not limited to their age, physical condition, and financial needs.
As mentioned herein, suing for a mental disorder is challenging in the workplace, but it is not impossible. The state of Tennessee limits workers’ comp benefit payout to a period of 104 weeks. Further, if an individual’s injuries occurred less than five years before the date he or she would become eligible in the Old Age Insurance Benefits Program, benefit payouts are capped at 260 weeks.
Can I sue my employer for workplace-related injuries?
Generally, an injured worker may not sue an employer for workplace-related injuries. Instead, employees must usually resort to their employer’s workers’ compensation programs to pursue costs related to medical treatment, lost work, and necessary travel.
In some cases, an employee may have an additional claim against an employer, however. For example, if the employers’ conduct was intentional in nature, the employee may sue under tort law.
What if my employer does not have workers' compensation insurance?
Unless otherwise exempt, Tennessee law requires any employers in construction work to hold workers’ comp coverage if they have at least one employee. In contrast, an employer in any other industry must have coverage if they have five or more employees. A violation of this may result in a penalty to the employer.
If a client’s employer lacks the requisite insurance and is not exempt from holding it, NST Law can file a Request for Investigation. Additionally, it is possible to file a claim through the state’s Uninsured Employers Fund, which is the program that enforces the insurance requirements and covers benefits, so employee victims are not left unaccounted for.
How do I file a workers' compensation claim in Tennessee?
The requirements for filing a workers’ compensation claim in Tennessee can be daunting, which is why consultation with a workers’ compensation law firm is highly suggested. To ensure the best possible outcome, the client must first report the injury and its surrounding issues to his or her employee within 15 days of the injury or after medical advice suggests it is connected to work.
At this point, it is the responsibility of the employee’s supervisor to complete necessary state workers’ compensation forms. If a client receives medical care, he or she should provide the hospital with the employer’s workers’ compensation details. This will also assist with ensuring medical expenses go to the right department. An attorney can assist the client with monitoring the claim and employer, and if necessary, file an appeal should the claim be denied.
What should I do if my claim was denied?
Should an injured worker encounter any legal issues such as liability due to claim denial, the worker’s attorney should promptly contact the state labor division to seek a dispute resolution process. To speed up the claim appeal process, submitting a Petition for Benefit Determination is highly suggested. This form preserves the availability of workers’ compensation benefits available to a claimant for a certain period of time. Contact the offices of NST Law today to explore options for claim denial and for assistance with a workers’ compensation claim today – we fight for our client’s rights every step of the way.
How can the Jackson, TN workers' compensation legal team at NST Law help me?
The workers’ compensation lawyers and support staff at NST Law know what claimants are experiencing: burnout, feelings of helplessness, a struggle to cover medical and home costs due to lost or reduced wages, and being distracted by pain or lasting effects of a work injury. For this reason, workers’ comp claimants are invited to contact our highly qualified team today without delay. We are well equipped to handle all aspects of a workers’ comp claim, from initiation to settlement or benefits recovery. This includes developing each claim with supporting facts, speaking with insurance companies and employers, filing appeals if need be, and ensuring payout as each case closes.
NST Law Case Results
The legal professionals at NST Law have seen great success on behalf of its workers’ compensation clients. One such example of our success is reflected in a personal injury case where we recovered nearly $1 million for our client, who fell 35 feet while working on a billboard poster. Our expert lawyers promptly got this client’s workers’ compensation benefits started and hired an engineer to determine that the billboard catwalk was defective.
Another strong example of NST Law advocating on our clients’ behalf is the case of a forty-nine-year-old man who suffered from a serious brain injury while on his job site due to no cause of his own. In this case, NST’s team managed to deal with an uncooperative employer who denied our clients’ claims. After the employer hired a doctor to try to allege our client was overstating his psychological injuries, we pursued our client’s claim all the way to trial. Here, our experts gave testimony to demonstrate our client did indeed have a traumatic brain injury due to the work incident, where we ultimately secured a judgment of over $560,000.
When another one of our clients incurred nearly $30,000 in medical bills due to required surgery, we were adamant about fighting for his rights. Our client, in this case, suffered from deep cuts to his arm following a work chainsaw accident. We successfully recovered over $200,000 for our client, including a workers’ compensation claim and a claim against a third party for negligently hiring a worker involved in the incident.
When do I have to file for workers' compensation benefits?
Tennessee law imposes a statute of limitations on claimants seeking to file a workers’ compensation suit. Tennessee Code requires that a claimant bring a claim within one year after the accident giving rise to the claim occurred. However, if the employer did, in fact, provide benefits to the employee, the one-year time starts from the latter of the last authorized treatment or the date the employer ceased making payments to or on behalf of the employee for his or her injuries.
When should I contact an experienced workers' compensation law firm?
When a worker is injured on the job, whether from an automobile accident in a company vehicle, using a company cutting machine, or a falling object in a warehouse setting, time is of the essence. Because of this, injured workers should call NST Law as soon as possible for expert legal representation and prevent delaying their claims. Schedule a free case evaluation!