Injured at Work in Tennessee? Here Are Some Common Misconceptions

Workers Compensation Tennessee MythsWith June designated as National Safety Month by the National Safety Council (NSC), we wanted to take the opportunity to inform those injured on the job in Tennessee of their rights. Going to work shouldn’t cause you to worry about returning home in one piece at the end of the day. However, too many people suffer injuries on the job or don’t come home at all.

The NSC reports that in 2019, there were 5,333 workplace injuries that led to fatalities at workplaces across the United States, which is the highest number since 2007. Because the chances of a workplace injury are so high, we wanted to address some of the most common misconceptions about Tennessee workers’ compensation. At Rocky McElhaney Law, our Nashville workers compensation lawyers want to empower injured workers so you don’t get strong-armed by employers who are trying to avoid compensating you properly, and so you can avoid the traps of employers who don’t follow the rules.

I caused my injury, therefore I am not eligible for workers’ compensation benefits

A workers’ compensation claim is valid for any person injured on the job, whether they caused the injury or not. This is what separates workers’ compensation claims from personal injury claims. This is also where many employers attempt to confuse their injured employees. Typically, the only way an injured employee could have a claim denied is if they were under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the accident that led to their injury, or if they were purposely putting themselves in danger.

I can only claim benefits if I was injured on the job site or at the office

It’s quite common for an employee to suffer an injury out of the office or off the job site while still performing duties related to their employment. One of the most common occurrences is when an employee is moving from site to site to conduct inspections and gets into a car accident. So long as the employee was moving between job sites to continue the scope of their employment, the employee can receive workers’ compensation benefits in Tennessee.

Not all employers offer workers’ compensation benefits

Workers’ compensation is not an optional benefit or perk of the job, like maternity or paternity leave or a company car. Every single business in Tennessee that employs five or more people must carry workers’ compensation insurance. Trades and construction companies are required to purchase this insurance if they employ one or more people.

My employer will suffer repercussions if I file a Tennessee workers’ compensation claim

Every employer will do their best to reduce the number of workers’ compensation claims filed by employers, oftentimes by encouraging employees not to file their claims. However, an employer won’t always be on the hook for the employee’s medical expenses should they suffer an injury at work. The system has been created to protect both parties. The employee knows there is insurance available if they suffer an injury on the job, while the employer knows they cannot be sued by their employee if he or she files for workers’ compensation benefits.

There’s nothing I can do if my claim is denied

Employees injured on the job in Tennessee often worry that they will not be able to do anything further if their initial workers’ compensation claim is denied. But that’s not true. More often than not, a first-time workers’ compensation application is denied. The Tennessee Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) is very strict in reviewing applications for benefits. This means that applicants who file without the assistance of an attorney most likely make mistakes on their applications that cause them to be denied. The smallest of omissions or mistakes can result in your claim being denied by the BWC.

So just because your initial claim was denied doesn’t mean you’re not entitled to collect workers’ compensation benefits. The decision of the BWC can be appealed and should be with the help of a work injury attorney from Rocky McElhaney Law Firm. Appealing a decision from the BWC improves your chances of receiving benefits from your employer.

I will lose my job if I file a Tennessee workers’ compensation claim

Some employees decide against filing a workers’ compensation claim after suffering a workplace injury because they fear retaliation to the point where they will lose their job. If there is even the slightest hint of you being fired for filing a claim, you need to speak with a work injury attorney immediately. Getting fired just for filing a claim could mean you were the victim of a wrongful termination, and there are legal options available to you if that’s the case.

If I suffer an injury, my employer doesn’t have to be involved in the claims process

Employers are required by law to be involved in the workers’ compensation process once an employee notifies them of an injury suffered on the job. The employer is required to create an incident report that provides information about the accident and the subsequent injury. This report must then be sent to the company’s workers’ compensation insurance provider, and you must be given one, too. Your employer is also required to remain in contact with you and assist you through your rehabilitation as needed until you return to work.

Some injuries aren’t serious enough for workers’ compensation

A worker who scrapes a knee may not be able to claim workers’ compensation, but you don’t have to be permanently injured to collect benefits. Workers’ compensation insurance in Tennessee covers:

  • Benefits for permanent partial disability
  • Benefits for permanent total disability
  • Benefits for temporary partial disability
  • Benefits for temporary total disability
  • Medical benefits for mileage, prescription medications, and surgery
  • Death benefits

If your worksite injury leads to permanent injury or if you contract a life-altering or life-threatening illness, and you are unable to ever return to work, we can help you file a Social Security Disability claim, too.

Were you injured on the job in Tennessee? Don’t trust that your employer will do what’s right for you or that they will follow the law. The experienced workers’ compensation attorneys at Rocky McElhaney Law Firm will ensure that your rights as an injured worker are met to the letter of the law. Call us at 615-425-2500 or complete the contact form on our website to schedule a free consultation in one of our offices located in Nashville, Hendersonville, or Clarksville.