Knoxville Workers’ Compensation Lawyers
Table of Contents
Workers’ compensation or workers’ comp, as most refer to it, is a form of insurance for injured workers. Federal and state governments created these benefits as a way for employees to recover money for injuries sustained on the job without having to file a lawsuit against their employer. Employers in every state must carry workers’ compensation insurance to pay for on-the-job injuries employees might suffer.
If an employee is hurt while on the job, workers’ compensation insurance pays for expenses related to the employee’s injuries or illness. In exchange for receiving workers’ compensation, the employee typically gives up the right to file a lawsuit against the employer in court for negligence.
Each state has its own workers’ compensation laws, with slight differences. However, to recover workers’ compensation in any state in the U.S., a worker doesn’t have to prove fault. Instead, the worker only needs to show that they were injured while working for the employer.
Because workers’ compensation laws are complex and specialized, it’s essential to have a workers’ compensation lawyer working on your side to ensure you obtain the benefits you deserve. Our Knoxville workers’ compensation lawyers at NST Law can provide you with the information you need to pursue a claim after a workplace accident that causes you harm.
NST Law Workers' Compensation Verdicts and Settlements
Our workers’ compensation attorneys at NST Law show dedication to getting favorable results for our clients, and we have won numerous significant verdicts and settlements. For example, in one case, we represented a seriously injured person when he fell about 35 feet from a billboard catwalk. His injuries included two broken arms requiring surgery. As a result, we helped him secure temporary total disability, and we helped him settle his workers’ compensation claim.
To further prove his case and acquire additional compensation to cover expenses related to his considerable injuries, we hired an expert engineer, who determined that the billboard catwalk where he was working had not been adequately welded. We filed a personal injury lawsuit on our client’s behalf, and through mediation, we secured a settlement of more than $950,000 for his third-party claim.
In another case, our client was injured on the job, suffering a traumatic brain injury, which led to psychological problems. The workers’ compensation insurance company denied his claim, hired a doctor to prove that our client was faking his injuries, and then refused to pay a fair and reasonable settlement for our client’s harm. We took the case to trial, and the trial court found that our client was permanently and totally disabled, awarding our client $561,916.90 and ordering the workers’ compensation insurance company to pay for his medical treatment for the rest of his life.
Additionally, we represented an individual who suffered injuries while on the job because the company implemented inadequate safety regulations. A chainsaw cut our client, leaving him with deep lacerations on his right arm and severed tendons, requiring surgery. We helped our client obtain a jury verdict of $211,000 against the company who employed the negligent worker who caused the accident.
As these cases demonstrate, the attorneys and staff at NST Law fight passionately for our clients, and we will push to get the results you deserve.
What is workers' compensation?
There are no federal regulations addressing state workers’ comp laws. Instead, each state has its own laws and regulations that govern workers’ comp claims. For federal employees, separate workers’ compensation laws govern their workers’ compensation claims. Therefore, unless you’re a federal employee, the laws of your state will govern your right to workers’ compensation benefits.
In Knoxville, the State of Tennessee laws will govern your claim after your on-the-job injury, and the amount of compensation you’re entitled to will depend on the extent of your injuries. The most important thing you should focus on is your recovery. Let our Knoxville personal injury lawyers at NST Law with decades of experience in this practice area handle the rest. We can help ensure that you know and understand your options, file all the necessary documents in a timely manner to assert your claim, and help you receive the best possible outcome.
How does workers' compensation work?
In Tennessee, if you suffer injuries or serious illness on the job directly due to job responsibilities, you may file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits with your employer. Your employer will offer you a list of three treating doctors you can choose from to act as your authorized treating physician under your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance coverage. Although you need to contact your employer as soon as possible after your injury, you have one year from the date of your injury to file a workers’ comp claim under Tennessee law.
In Tennessee, the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation oversees claims filed by injured workers, and a workers’ compensation judge must approve all settlements. However, the employers provide the benefits themselves through their insurance companies or third-party administrators.
Who's eligible to receive workers' compensation benefits in Knoxville?
Under Tennessee law, employers with businesses with at least five employees must carry workers’ compensation insurance. To be eligible for workers’ comp benefits in Knoxville, you must show that you suffered a compensable injury during your employment. Injured employees must prove their injury is compensable by having a treating physician determine it’s work-related.
Our team of workers’ compensation attorneys can help you receive the financial benefits you deserve after a work-related injury. We have the passion and dedication to fight for the legal rights of injured workers. No matter your work-injury situation, we will provide you with the relevant information you need to understand Tennessee’s workers’ compensation program and any legal issues that might arise to potentially block your payouts.
Common Types of Workplace Injuries
Typical workplace injuries in Knoxville leading to workers’ compensation benefit payouts include:
- Spinal cord injuries
- Broken bones
- Head injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Knee injuries
- Shoulder injuries
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Bulging or herniated discs
- Exposure to toxic chemicals
- Torn ligaments and rotator cuffs
- Psychological injuries, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
These injuries can lead to expensive medical bills that can burden you and your family members financially. Contact our law firm to understand if you can take legal action and ensure you have a team of legal professionals looking out for your best interests.
In a recent unique workers’ comp case, the Tennessee Workers’ Compensation Bureau denied a claim filed by a woman who asserted she contracted COVID-19 at work. The woman sought to have workers’ comp pay for her medical bills, which totaled upwards of $500,000. The Bureau denied the woman’s claim, finding that she produced no evidence that she contracted COVID-19 from her workplace. The woman has since appealed the claim denial.
Types of Workers' Compensation Benefits
If you suffer injuries on the job, you can receive different types of disability benefits under Tennessee law. The benefits you can receive will depend on numerous factors, including the severity of your injuries, the wages you were earning before you were injured, and whether you’re able to return to work.
Benefits typically include the costs of your medical treatment, wage benefits, and total or partial disability benefits for the time you had to miss work because of your injury. Tennessee workers’ comp laws generally don’t allow benefits for pain and suffering.
Workers injured in Tennessee are entitled to receive medical benefits through workers’ compensation coverage for as long as the treating physician determines the medical treatment is related to the workplace injury. Medical benefits include:
- The costs of all medical care, including emergency care such as emergency room visits, if emergency medical personnel determine that the care is immediate and necessary
- Travel reimbursement to cover transportation costs to medical treatment that exceeds 15 miles in one direction
- All medical treatment, surgical treatment, supplies, medications, crutches, hospitalization, psychological services, nursing, prescription eyewear, etc.
However, deciding how much of these benefits you will receive depends on whether the medical care is reasonably necessary.
Temporary Disability Benefits
In Tennessee, if you’re on the job, workers’ comp laws allow you to obtain temporary disability benefits, covering lost wages while you’re temporarily out of work. You can either receive temporary partial disability benefits or temporary total disability.
You can potentially qualify for temporary partial disability benefits when you can still work but are placed on light duty or work fewer hours. Contrarily, temporary total disability benefits become available when you are temporarily out of work.
If you’re receiving less pay because you’re working fewer hours or are on light duty, your temporary partial disability benefits are wages equal to 66 2/3% of the difference between 1) the wages you’re receiving on light duty and 2) your average weekly wage.
If a doctor requires you to take time off work temporarily, you have the right to receive temporary total disability benefits, which usually equal 2/3 (0.6667) of your average weekly wages during the 52 weeks before your injury.
Temporary total disability benefits begin on the eighth day that you’re out of work, unless you’re out of work for more than 14 days, in which case you will receive back-pay beginning on the first day of your disability. Both temporary partial disability and temporary total disability benefits are paid until the worker reaches maximum medical improvement or for a period of 450 weeks, whichever is shorter.
Permanent Disability Benefits
Tennessee workers’ comp laws provide that permanent disability benefits are available to replace a worker’s wages if a workplace injury has rendered the worker unable to work at all or unable to work at full capacity. If that’s the case, an injured worker can receive permanent partial disability benefits or permanent total disability benefits through workers’ comp insurance.
Employees may obtain permanent partial disability benefits if they suffer a permanent disability due to a work-related injury but can still return to work in some capacity. These benefits entitle workers to wages equaling 66 2/3% of their average weekly wages, subject to certain limitations, such as the body part affected by the injury and whether the employee can return to their prior employment. Benefits for permanent partial disability can continue for up to 450 weeks.
If a worker qualifies for permanent total disability benefits, meaning the employee cannot return to the job market, the benefits will continue until the worker becomes eligible for retirement benefits under Social Security laws.
Under Tennessee’s workers’ comp laws, if an employee dies while on the job, the employee’s surviving dependents may receive death benefits. These benefits can include wage replacement and burial expenses. Death benefits intend to replace lost wages or financial support.
If the deceased person leaves a surviving spouse but no dependent children, the spouse will be entitled to half of the employee’s weekly wages, subject to a maximum weekly benefit. If the deceased person leaves a surviving spouse and at least one dependent child, then the surviving spouse will receive 66 2/3 % of the employee’s weekly wages.
You can calculate the maximum total benefit by multiplying the maximum weekly benefit for the year of the person’s injury by 450. If the deceased person leaves no dependents, $20,000 will go to the decedent’s estate.
As for burial expenses, for injuries resulting in death that occurred before May 19, 2017, $7,500 will be paid for burial expenses. For injuries resulting in death that occurred on or after May 19, 2017, the amount is $10,000.
Workers injured on the job in Tennessee who end up with permanent impairments may also be eligible for vocational rehabilitation services under Tennessee’s Next Step Program. The program maintains a fund to assist qualified injured workers in obtaining training to get back into the workforce.
To be eligible to participate in the Next Step Program, a worker must meet the following requirements:
- Have a compensable workers’ comp claim that happened on or after July 1, 2018
- Have a permanent injury with an impairment rating
- Received a disability award for not returning to work or returning for lower wages
- Apply within 90 days of receipt of a final disability payment
- Select a job in demand
- Train within the person’s abilities
How can I file a workers' compensation claim in Knoxville?
If you suffer an injury on the job, you need to report the incident to your employer within 15 days of the injury date or when a physician first informs the employer that the injury is work-related. Your supervisor will complete your initial forms, which will initiate your workers’ comp benefits.
What if the insurer denies my workers' compensation claim?
When you file a workers’ compensation claim, an insurance adjuster assigned to your case will investigate its validity. The adjuster typically has 48 hours to contact you to discuss your claim, and they must deny or accept your claim within 14 days. If the adjuster determines that your claim is not compensable and an attorney doesn’t represent you, you may contact the Bureau’s Ombudsman Program. An ombudsperson will help you work through the claims process.
If the insurer denies your claim, you may appeal the decision by contacting the Tennessee Bureau of Workers’ Compensation. To begin the appeals process, you need to file a Petition for Benefits Determination. You must file the petition within one year of the denial of your accident claim, your most recent authorized medical treatment, or your last payment for benefits, whichever happens later. You should file the petition in the regional office closest to your residence.
The lawyers at NST Law have over 30 years of experience helping clients receive the compensation they deserve and filing appeals to ensure they can take advantage of available benefits. Contact us today for help with your workers’ compensation claim, even if you’ve already received a denial.
Should I hire a Knoxville workers' compensation attorney?
Workers’ compensation laws are complex. If you’re injured on the job, you will likely be confused about what actions you should take while also receiving treatment and healing from your injuries. It can be an extremely stressful time, as you will probably be worrying about how you’ll be able to cover your medical bills and continue to provide for your family.
Hiring an attorney that understands complicated workers’ compensation laws can benefit you by helping you to obtain the maximum benefits for your workers’ compensation claim. An attorney with knowledge of Tennessee’s workers’ comp laws can give you vital legal advice about filing your claim, whether a proposed payout is fair and reasonable, and what deadlines you must meet to ensure your eligibility to receive benefits. Your attorney can investigate your claim and build your case, filing all required paperwork on your behalf and hiring necessary experts when needed, leaving you time to rest and recover.
Contact Our Legal Team at NST Law Today
If you or a loved one suffered a workplace injury, contact the attorneys at NST Law today for a free case evaluation.
Nahon, Saharovich & Trotz Personal Injury Attorneys
408 N. Cedar Bluff Road Suite 450
Knoxville, TN 37923