Employers are required by state and federal law to provide a safe working environment for their staff. Yet, accidents still happen. Workers’ compensation, commonly known as workers’ comp, is insurance that pays an injured employee lost wages and medical costs resulting from work-related injuries. In most cases, worker’s comp can protect an employer from being sued for damages by injured staff, although injured workers may still be able to sue third-parties for their injuries.

Tennessee Workers’ Comp Laws

In Nashville, employers with five or more full- or part-time employees are required to carry workers’ comp. Employers in construction or mining fields must carry workers’ comp if they have at least one employee. A construction employer can apply for an exemption from the requirement, but his employees must be covered under workers’ comp.

Applying for Worker’s Comp in Nashville

If you are injured on the job, you must immediately report the accident to your supervisor.  If you require medical attention, go (or have someone take you) to the nearest emergency room. It is imperative that you report your injury within 30 of the date of occurrence in order to expedite processing of the necessary paperwork. Your supervisor will complete and submit the paperwork to his workers’ comp insurance carrier.

Your supervisor will give you a Form C-42, “Agreement Between Employer/Employee Choice of Physician.” The Form C-42 should provide a choice of at least three doctors who provide worker’s comp medical treatment. You are required to select a doctor and sign the form. The doctor you choose will be your authorized treating physician who will treat your injury at your employer’s expense. If you required emergency medical treatment, your supervisor will wait until your injury stabilizes before giving you Form C-42 to sign.

Be sure to get a copy of the signed form.  If for some reason you do not sign the form and you are treated by any of doctors listed on the form, it may be considered that you chose that doctor to be your authorized treating physician.

What Happens Next?

A worker’s comp insurance adjuster should contact you within 48 hours of being notified about your injury to discuss your claim. The adjuster has 14 days to accept or deny your claim. If your claim is accepted, you should begin receiving temporary disability payments for your injury no later than 15 days after notice of the injury.

Having Trouble Getting Benefits?

You have options if you run into problems getting workers’ comp benefits.  If your claim is denied, you can request assistance from the Tennessee Bureau of Workers’ Compensation by filing either a Petition for Benefits Determination (for injuries occurring after July 1, 2014) or a Request for Mediation Form (for injuries occurring before July 1, 2014). Your request must be filed within one year from the date of the injury, or the last date that you received temporary disability benefits or medical benefits were provided for your injury, whichever occurs the latest.

You may also can enlist the aid of an Ombudsman by contacting the Tennessee Bureau of Workers’ Compensation and speaking to a Workers’ Compensation Specialist.

A Worker’s Comp Attorney Can Help

A Nashville workers’ comp attorney has knowledge of Tennessee workers’ comp laws and all of the legalities associated with workers’ comp claims. One of our seasoned workers’ comp attorney will be happy to discuss your case and advise you of your options. Call us today for a free consultation.