Workers Compensation in Tennessee

You aren’t alone if you wonder how workers comp works. Workers’ compensation is a type of insurance that provides wage and medical benefits to people who have become ill or injured while at work. The extent of workers’ comp coverage an employer is required to carry is governed by Tennessee state law. Thus, in trying to figure out how workers comp works, it helps to understand the laws on the books in the state where the business operates. If the injury or illness a worker sustains is eligible for compensation, the insurance carrier should help ease the financial burden the illness or injury created on the worker. Learn some of the basic principles of Tennessee workers’ compensation insurance and how the process works.

Workers Compensation Statistics in Tennessee?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the leading causes of work-related injury in Tennessee are overexertion, falls, and equipment injuries. The most commonly reported injuries are sprains, strains, and tears. The industries with the highest rates of workplace injuries are natural resource and mining, followed by educational and health services. In addition, the highest rates of fatalities are in the construction industry, with the primary cause being transportation injuries. In fact, half of all reported workplace injuries in Tennessee result in missed work, work restriction, or job transfer.

How Does Workers Comp Work in Tennessee?

There is a standard practice to follow when going through the Tennessee workers’ compensation process. Unfortunately, it begins with you getting sick or injured on the job. The circumstances surrounding the incident that led to the injury are especially crucial. The injury had to occur during the course of your regular work duties. It could also occur while you were performing a special task at the request of your boss. 

All Tennessee employers with at least five employees must carry workers compensation insurance. Mining and construction employers require coverage regardless of number of employees. Your employer will provide you with a panel of three authorized physicians to choose from for your treatment. Once an authorized physician has determined the injury to be work related, all recommended treatment is fully covered. There is no requirement to prove fault for the injury. Travel expenses can be covered if the treatment is more than 15 miles away.

According to the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development, if you are unable to work, lost wages will be paid at a rate of ⅔ of the average weekly wage from the prior year, up to a maximum of $992/week. Partial disability is permitted if your work schedule is reduced or restricted. Independent contractors in Tennessee are not eligible for worker’s compensation coverage, as they are considered to be self-employed. There is a complex process for determining whether a worker is qualified as an employee or an independent contractor.

The steps you take immediately following a workplace incident in Tennessee are critical for purposes of filing a claim for compensation. Follow the following steps to preserve your rights and learn how workers comp works.

Get Medical Attention

After you get injured or feel ill, the first step is to see a doctor. Don’t delay receiving help from a Tennessee healthcare professional. This could not only jeopardize your health, but you run the risk of missing time-sensitive deadlines in the workers’ compensation process.

Even if you believe that your injury is minor, get a proper medical report detailing the extent of the damage and how it occurred. This is the first step in the workers’ compensation claim process. Absent a medical report, your employer cannot file a claim with the insurance carrier.

When dealing with a job-related illness, the symptoms and diagnosis may not happen right away. You may find yourself attending regular checkups and testing for weeks or months before a doctor finally associates your illness with your job. All of your medical records will become the foundation from which the workers’ comp carrier will launch its investigation. Your doctor may make the determination that the illness is the result of your work conditions or aggravated by them. Once they do, see your human resources representative to file a workers’ compensation claim.

File a First Report of Injury

Once you have a medical diagnosis relating your illness or injury to your job, you must file a claim with your employer. This is the next important phase of how Tennessee workers comp works.

If you are injured on the job in Tennessee, you have 30 days to inform your employer about the injury. If your claim is denied, you have one year from the date of denial to challenge the finding.

The first report of an on the job injury or illness will provide the workers’ compensation insurance carrier with the details of the events leading up to the injury. In this report, you will provide your physical injuries, the medical treatment you received and the facilities that provided it. It’s always a good idea to submit a copy of the doctor’s report  with the report of injury.

Your employer should furnish you with information about the claims process. The adjuster or insurance carrier representative may want to speak to you at some point about the incident and any possible witnesses to the event. 

Tennessee does not permit settlements until you are at MMI (maximum medical improvement). This means that your condition is not going to improve. Your doctor will make this determination and assign a percentage value to your disability. Note that, before any litigation is permitted, Tennessee requires a Benefits Review Conference to attempt a settlement. This conference must happen within 30 days of reaching MMI.

Why You Should Hire a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer

In learning how Tennessee workers comp works, many people believe that the injury claims process is straightforward. While this may be the case in some instances, in others, it may be more of a hassle. For instance, your employer may question whether you were hurt on the clock or on your own time. The company may also start to question the extent of your injury. There may even arise pay disputes and long-term care dictated by the doctor. Don’t question how workers comp works and risk losing your claim. Hire a Tennessee workers’ comp lawyer and ensure you have an advocate to fight for your rights as a victim.

Work With an Experienced Local Lawyer in Tennessee

Your health and wellbeing need to come first. If you are hurt while working or find out an illness you are suffering is the result of your job, you will want to seek compensation. Since the workers’ compensation claims process may be tricky, you should consider getting a local attorney well versed in how to deal with it. We can even help you connect with an attorney across Tennessee state lines. They can guide you while you continue to learn how workers comp works.

Submit a request online or call us today at (866) 345-6784 to get in touch with an experienced lawyer in your area!

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