In Tennessee, workers who have been injured on the job often find themselves grappling with a critical question: “If I sue for workers comp, will I lose my job?” This article aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the issue.
The Exclusive Remedy Rule
In Tennessee, injuries related to work that occurred on or after July 1, 2014, are generally subject to the state’s workers’ compensation laws. These laws oversee workers’ compensation claims and stipulate the rules regarding various aspects. This includes the period within which an injured employee must report the injury, the provision of temporary disability benefits, permanent disability benefits, and medical benefits.
A common question asked by injured Tennessee workers is: “Can I sue my employer for a work injury?”. The answer lies in the Exclusive Remedy Rule. This rule states that the rights and remedies granted to an employee in workers’ compensation exclude all other rights or remedies of the employee. In simpler terms, if you accept workers’ compensation benefits, you typically cannot sue your employer for additional damages related to the same injury.
The Case of Williams v. Buraczynski
The Christopher Lea Williams v. John Buraczynski case centered around a car accident that took place in January 2015. At the time, Buraczynski was driving with Williams as a passenger in a carpool arrangement. Both were employees of Progression Electric, LLC.
After the accident, Williams received workers’ compensation benefits. He later filed a lawsuit against Buraczynski in the Circuit Court for Knox County. In response, Buraczynski sought a summary judgment, arguing that workers’ compensation was Williams’ only remedy.
The Trial Court ruled in favor of Buraczynski’s motion, and the decision was upheld on appeal.
Exceptions to the Exclusive Remedy Rule
While workers’ compensation typically covers the majority of workplace injuries in Tennessee, there are certain exceptions to this rule. For instance, if an employer is not required to have worker’s compensation insurance and an employee gets hurt at work, the injured worker is not entitled to workers’ compensation benefits but is not barred from filing a lawsuit against the employer.
Job Security After Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim
It’s important to note that it’s illegal for an employer or business owner to require an employee to pay any amount of the business’ workers’ compensation premiums. Even if you’re not legally required to obtain workers’ compensation insurance, you can opt to be covered.
However, it’s also crucial to understand that while these laws are designed to protect employees, they do not explicitly guarantee job security after filing a claim. Employers cannot retaliate against employees for filing a workers’ compensation claim. However, this does not mean that an employee cannot be fired or laid off for other reasons while a claim is pending.
Retaliation: What Does It Mean?
Retaliation refers to any adverse action taken by an employer against an employee for exercising their rights under workers’ compensation laws. This could include firing, demotion, harassment, or any other action that negatively affects the terms and conditions of employment.
In Tennessee, it’s illegal for employers to retaliate against employees who file a workers’ compensation claim. If you believe you’ve been retaliated against for filing a claim, it’s crucial to consult with a legal professional immediately.
Navigating the complexities of a workers’ compensation claim can be challenging. If you’ve been injured on the job, it’s recommended that you consult with a legal professional who specializes in workers compensation law. They can provide guidance tailored to your specific situation and help protect your rights as an employee.
Call Our Nashville Workers Comp Lawyers for Help!
While it’s natural to worry about job security when filing a workers’ comp claim, it’s important not to let fear prevent you from seeking the benefits you’re entitled to. Know your rights, seek legal advice, and take steps to protect yourself throughout the process by contacting Nashville Workers Compensation Lawyers at 615-502-4477 for a free case review.