- Eligibility, Filing, and Appeals for Workers’ Compensation in Tennessee
- February 11, 2019 | Author: Richard Charles Wagner
- Law Firm: Wagner & Wagner Attorneys at Law - Chattanooga Office
If you have sustained an injury or developed an occupational illness as a result of your employment-related activity in the state of Tennessee, you have a right to file a workers’ compensation claim. The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development is the state agency that oversees and manages the state’s workers’ compensation claims.
Typically, the workers’ comp system is the only remedy an injured worker has for recovering compensation from his or her employer. When workers’ compensation is applicable, generally you are not permitted to sue your employer in a personal injury lawsuit as well. An experienced Chattanooga workers’ compensation attorney can inform you about any exceptions.
Injuries and illnesses covered
Under workers’ compensation law in Tennessee, any occupational disease or work-related injury that requires medical care or ends in an absence from work or the employee’s decease is recognized as a valid workers’ compensation injury or illness. Workplace conditions and job duties that result in repetitive stresses, and chronic injuries developed over time, qualify, as does exposure to toxins in a work environment. However, the injury or illness must have occurred within the scope of employment. Minor scrapes and cuts that only require first aid are not valid as part of a workers’ comp claim.
Businesses having five or more employees in the state are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance for their employees. All employers in the coal mining and construction industries must carry insurance, no matter the number of employees they retain.
Most, but not all, employees in the state are covered under Tennessee workers’ compensation laws. Federal employees are covered under federal workers’ compensation laws. Tennessee does not cover domestic workers, independent contractors, and certain agricultural workers under its law.
Filing a workers’ compensation claim in Tennessee
It is important to report your work related injury or occupational illness to your employer as soon as possible, but sooner than 15 days from the time of the injury, or from the time when you first discovered your injury or illness was work-related. Notice provided in writing is not required. However, it is good practice to do so regardless in order to ensure documentation exists that you reported in a timely manner.
Appealing the denial of your workers’ compensation benefits
If you are unhappy with your settlement offer, or if you have been denied benefits, you have the opportunity to challenge the decision with the Tennessee Bureau of Workers’ Compensation. You only have one year form the date of your injury to file a Petition for Benefits Determination, so you’ll need to move quickly.
After you file the Petition, you and your attorney will move into mediation with the Benefit Review Conference, or BRC. If mediation fails, you can request a hearing before the Tennessee Court of Workers’ Compensation Claims. If the hearing does not go well, then you can appeal the decision to the Tennessee Supreme Court.
If you are encountering resistance to your workers’ compensation claim from your employer or their insurance company, you need an experienced legal advocate on your side. At Wagner & Wagner Attorneys at Law, our team in Chattanooga is experienced at fighting for injured employees. We have been doing so since 1945. Our law firm represents clients in Cleveland and Chattanooga, TN, North Georgia, and the surrounding region. Give us a call today at 423.799.3532.