When people lose their jobs, they apply for unemployment. These workers compensation benefits are paid through the state. However, when you apply for workers compensation, your benefits are not paid by the state. They are paid by your employer’s insurance carrier. In order to do business in Tennessee, companies are required to carry certain types of insurance. One of these is workers compensation insurance. This is to make sure that workers have some recourse if they’re hurt on the job. Our employment lawyers in Nashville meet with new clients every week who have gotten hurt at work.
Usually, as long as you report your injury right away, your employer will approve your claim. They would communicate this to their insurance agent who would, in turn, pay your benefits. These benefits include both medical care and replacement wages. As you could imagine, if your employer had to pay for this out of pocket, they would probably go bankrupt in no time. This is especially true for small and medium-sized enterprises.
Here, we’ll discuss how workers compensation works in Nashville, Tennessee. We will also explain how you qualify for workers comp benefits. Finally, we’ll briefly talk about what kind of benefits you can expect to receive through workers compensation. If you still have questions or concerns about your own workplace accident, give us a call. We can always schedule your free, initial consultation.
Is Your Employer Required to Carry Workers Compensation Insurance in Tennessee?
Before you can expect to talk about workers comp benefits, you need to find out if your employer is even required to provide workers compensation. In Tennessee, only companies with more than 4 employees have to carry workers comp insurance. If your current employer only has a couple of employees, you may have no recourse under workers compensation.
Even if you work for a company with more than 4 employees, you still have to meet certain criteria to qualify for workers comp. For example, you can’t belong to an excluded group. In Tennessee, the following categories of workers aren’t entitled to workers compensation:
- Independent contractors
- Seasonal and casual workers
- Railroad employees
- Federal employees
- Domestic servants
- Agricultural workers
If you fall into one of these categories, you’ll need to call a personal injury attorney in Nashville, Tennessee. They can always look to see if there’s a different program under which you can receive benefits.
Your Employer Will Only Pay Benefits if Your Employment Lawyers in Nashville Can Prove You Qualify
Just because you say you got hurt at work, you aren’t automatically entitled to benefits. You’ll have to demonstrate that you meet certain criteria. When submitting your claim, your personal injury attorney in Nashville, Tennessee can check to make sure you meet the basic requirements for workers compensation. These include the following:
- Your accident must take place on company property
- You must be working at the time of your injury
- You can’t be under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of your workplace accident
- You must report your injury immediately
- You must be treated by a state-approved workers comp doctor
- You must cooperate with your doctor’s treatment plan
- You cannot work for another company while out on worker’s comp
If you believe you meet these criteria, there’s a good chance your claim will be approved. If, however, your employer decides to deny your claim, you’ll have two options. You can file an appeal. Or you can file suit. It makes sense to at least try the appeal. If it’s still denied, your employment lawyer in Nashville will proceed with legal action.
If Your Claim is Approved, What Benefits Will You Receive?
Hopefully, your workers comp claim will be approved right off the bat. If so, you can expect to start receiving benefits in a couple of weeks. Technically, you must miss at least 7 consecutive days from work before you qualify for benefits.
These benefits will be equal to 2/3 your average weekly wages. So, if you were used to making $1,000 per week, you’ll collect $666 per week. There is a maximum amount you can receive per week. In Tennessee, this weekly limit is rather low at just $1,233. However, there’s nothing your personal injury attorney in Nashville, Tennessee can do about that, What they can do is push to make sure you receive these benefits until you’re truly ready to return to work.
In addition, you can only receive benefits for a certain period of time. In Tennessee, the length of time your claim will stay open is 450 weeks. This is more than 8 years. Very few of our clients ever collect benefits for this long. By that time, you’ve either returned to work or settled your case.
What Are the Most Common Reasons Your Claim Could Be Denied?
If, after all is said and done, your claim is still denied, you’ll only have on choice. Your personal injury attorney in Nashville, Tennessee will have to file suit against your employer. If this is the case, you’ll still probably end up settling at some point. However, you’ll be looking for permanent damages as opposed to temporary benefits.
In order to prevail with your case, you’ll still have to prove that you meet the basic requirements for workers comp. You’ll also have to show that your employer was wrong in denying your benefits.
Call and Speak with One of Our Personal Injury Lawyers in Nashville, Tennessee
If you were hurt on the job and you aren’t sure what to do next, call us. You should come in and sit down with one of our personal injury lawyers in Nashville, Tennessee. Our attorneys have been handling workers comp cases for years. There is nothing they haven’t seen before. When you call, ask if you can schedule free, initial consultation. This gives you a chance to meet with a legal professional without any commitment. However, should you decide you want to retain our services, you won’t have to pay anything upfront. In fact, our clients don’t pay anything until we settle their case.