Bristol, TN Workers’ Compensation Lawyer & Workplace Injury Attorney
When an individual or family member becomes injured on the job, we understand how challenging it can be to get life back on track. From mounting medical bills to lost income and difficulty caring for loved ones—the stress of a debilitating injury can increase quickly. Workers’ compensation benefits are intended to help return those suffering from workplace injuries to health and employment as soon possible, and to otherwise compensate an injured worker.
As a Bristol, Tennessee workers’ compensation lawyer, attorney Mark Hurt and our firm help those injured on the job in seeking to secure the full benefits and compensation required under the law, including medical benefits. We stand up for injured workers when employers and insurance companies wrongly deny benefits.
If you’ve been injured on the job, call us today to learn about the benefits to which you are entitled, and how we can help!
Tennessee Workers’ Compensation Law
Under Tennessee workers’ compensation law, injured employees are entitled to coverage for the appropriate medical treatment needed to help recover from work-related injuries and illnesses. Unfortunately, many individuals are wrongly denied the full medical benefits and compensation to which they are entitled, typically because their claim is not being treated properly by an employer and the employer’s insurance company.
At The Law Offices of Mark T. Hurt, our experienced team is skilled in handling all types of complex workers’ compensation cases and seeking to help injured individuals secure much-needed benefits as expeditiously as possible.
If you sustained a traumatic workplace injury, you can rely on Mark Hurt and our firm to assist with your claim and advocate zealously on your behalf Our priority is to fully understand the degree of your impairment, the treatment that is medically necessary, the compensation that is provided under the workers’ compensation statutes, and to ensure that medical treatment is not discontinued prematurely or that you are not sent back to work before you are medically able to return to a job. Whether you need to file the initial injury paperwork or to appeal a denial or a wrongful (and lower) benefit determination, we will fight tenaciously on your behalf to secure for you the full compensation and benefits that you deserve.
Call our office to schedule a free consultation and to discuss the details of your case and learn about your options and benefits.
Why Should I Hire a Tennessee Workers’ Compensation Lawyer?
If you’ve been injured on the job, it’s important to realize that your employer (and their insurance company) will have a vested interest to pay as little as possible for your claim. Not only will they want to save money on minimizing your medical and compensation benefits, they will also be concerned with how your claim may affect their future workers’ compensation ratings and costs.
As a result, workers seeking job injury benefits may find that:
- They are refused benefits to which they are rightfully entitled;
- Their degree of disability is not being properly rated (which results in lower compensation being provided);
- Rehabilitative medical treatment is being wrongly withheld;
- The company’s doctor clears them to return to work when they are not medically able to do so; or
- A benefit extension or permanent disability is denied, despite a qualifying disabling injury having occurred.
The Bias of Companies and Company Doctors
In seeking to minimize the medical and compensation costs to a company when a worker is injured on the job, it will be in the company’s interest if their doctor finds that a worker was not injured on the job, if the injury is not that severe, if only limited medical treatment is required, and if the worker does not need to take much time off before returning to work.
Many companies thus intentionally work with physicians who, to maintain lucrative and ongoing business relationships, will have a bias to support the determinations that will be the most favorable to the employer that is paying their fee. Consequently, a physician may find that a worker is not all that badly injured, resulting in an impairment rating of less than what is appropriate (leading to lower compensation to the injured worker). Company doctors may also cut off treatment prematurely by determining that future treatment is not necessary (or that the worker has reached “maximum medical improvement”), and deem an injured worker capable of returning to work before the worker is healed. They may even “find” that a condition occurred outside of work.
We know the tactics used to minimize claims and avoid the medical and compensation that the law requires. If you’ve been injured at work, we invite you to call us at your earliest convenience to find out how we can help. We can fight to protect your rights if an unethical employer or money-motivated physician tries to impede your access to necessary treatment, stop your benefits, or send you back to work before you are ready.
With decades of legal practice, attorney Mark Hurt understands the tricks and tactics used by employers and insurance companies to avoid paying full benefits. He knows how to protect worker rights, and he can advise you of the full range of benefits to which you are entitled, and how the workers’ compensation law will apply to your injury.
How Much Do Tennessee Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Charge?
At The Law Offices of Mark T. Hurt, we understand the financial strain that many families face after a loved one sustains a work injury. Therefore, we represent workers’ compensation clients on a contingency-fee-basis, meaning that we will only collect a fee if we secure benefits. If successful, the fee is capped at 20% of the recovered compensation, even if it takes an immense amount of time and work to settle or win the case. If compensation is not recovered, then no fee is due.
I Was Injured at Work. How Do I File for Workers’ Compensation?
If you were injured in a workplace accident, time is of the essence. It is vital to report any incident (in writing) to an employer within 15 days of the injury or 15 days of a physician’s visit for the condition. The quicker the on-the-job injury or illness is reported, the faster the claim may be handled. Further, if too much time elapses, it can compromise the ability to collect benefits, as many employers and insurance carriers will argue that the injury occurred at a different time or location other than at work.
What Should I Do If an Employer Claims that My Injury is Not Work-Related?
It’s important that an injury be reported as soon as practical to an employer, and that the injured worker request (and promptly complete) all necessary paperwork relating to an injury.
In some instances, an employer may try to avoid liability by claiming that the injury did not, in fact, occur at work. For instance, suppose a worker injured his back by lifting a heavy box. The employer may claim that the injury was not caused by lifting the box, but rather occurred when the worker was doing household chores over the weekend. When these types of disputes occur, it’s important to establish that the injury did occur at work, and to promptly refute an employer’s assertions to the contrary.
Once an injury is reported to an employer, the company must provide a list of three or more doctors (four if the injury is to the back) who are willing to provide treatment. The worker must choose from these doctors, and the physician selected must decide whether the condition is work-related. If the injury occurred in the course of employment, workers’ compensation benefits should cover all medical treatment at no cost.
If the initial physician claims that an injury is not work-related, or if a claim is wrongfully undervalued, an independent doctor can be consulted; however, the injured worker must personally pay for the visit. We can assist and represent injured workers in this process.
If benefits are denied, on behalf of an injured worker we can file an appeal to have a claim heard before Tennessee’s Court of Workers’ Compensation Claims. If you are denied compensation, or not being given the full compensation (including medical treatment) to which are you entitled under the law, we can file an appeal and fight tenaciously to help in seeking to have the unfavorable determination overturned.
Can My Employer Fire Me for Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim?
Under Tennessee law, it is illegal to fire an employee for reporting a work injury. Unfortunately, many employers still wrongfully terminate employees, thinking they can avoid paying for medical care. They may also be trying to send a message to other workers – “if you file a workers’ compensation claim, you also will be fired.”
If you were subjected to illegal retaliation or fired for reporting an injury, you may have a claim for wrongful termination and be entitled to additional damages. We can also represent you in a lawsuit for damages, which will be separate from your workers’ compensation claim.
What Does Workers’ Compensation Cover?
Workers’ compensation benefits include medical expenses, partial disability benefits, temporary total disability benefits, permanent partial or complete (also known as total) disability, and death benefits. Workers’ compensation provides coverage for all necessary and reasonable medical expenses for the duration of an injury.
Tennessee employers are required by law to carry insurance for workers’ compensation claims. If they fail to comply with this requirement, a lawsuit can be filed directly against the company.
How Much Can I Collect from Workers’ Compensation in Tennessee?
In Tennessee, injured workers can collect 662/3% of the average wages they previously received before their injury. The average weekly wage (AWW) is calculated by adding together earnings for 52 weeks (including overtime) and then dividing by the same number. Benefits are typically limited to $1,000 per week.
For partial disability payments, the weekly benefits amount is calculated against the loss of earnings. For example, if an individual made $2,000 a week before an injury and can now only earn $1,200, the payment would be two-thirds of that number, or $800.
In some instances, a lump sum payment may be available to compensate for severe, permanent injuries. Typically, substantial, one-time payments may be awarded for loss of use of extremities or amputations. For instance, the Tennessee workers’ compensation board could award $100,000 for the loss of an arm.
Call The Law Offices of Mark T. Hurt to Schedule a Free Appointment Today!
At The Law Offices of Mark T. Hurt, we help injured Bristol workers file claims for benefits, as well as those whose applications have been denied. Claims can be complicated, and appeals can be even more challenging, especially if an employer’s insurance company tries to minimize the fault of an employer. If you were injured on the job and would like help evaluating your options, contact us today to schedule a free case evaluation.
 Injured Workers, State of Tennessee, https://www.tn.gov/workforce/injuries-at-work/injured-workers.html