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The Basics of Tennessee Workers' Compensation Law

If you are employed in Tennessee and suffer an injury while on the job, you may be eligible for workers' compensation benefits. Under Tennessee workers' compensation law, nearly all businesses are required to purchase Tennessee workers' compensation insurance to provide employees with benefits in the event of an on-the-job injury.

If you plan to file a workers' compensation claim, you should try to gain a basic understanding of Tennessee workers' compensation law. In addition, you may want to reach out to a local Tennessee workers' compensation attorney to assess your claim.

Benefits Under Tennessee Workers' Compensation Law

Injured workers who are granted workers' compensation are able to receive a number of benefits. These benefits include full medical coverage for treatment related to the injury as well as pay for wages lost due to disability.

Under Tennessee workers' compensation law, the amount of pay a worker receives when taking disability leave depends upon the extent of the worker's disability. For example, an employee will receive more pay if he is totally and permanently disabled, meaning he will never be able to return to work again. If an employee is temporarily disabled, meaning he will be able to return to work after treatment, pay may be less.

In addition, employees cannot receive disability benefits until seven days after the injury occurs. Once seven days have passed, benefits will begin to be paid out. If the disability continues for at least 14 days, the worker may be able to collect back pay for those first seven days that went unpaid.

Tennessee Workers' Comp Claims

If you have suffered an injury at work, the first thing you should do is seek medical treatment. You will also want to tell your employer you've been injured as soon as possible. You have up to 30 days to notify your employer. After 30 days, you may be barred from seeking workers' compensation benefits.

Once you have informed your employer about your injuries, Tennessee workers' compensation law requires your employer to submit a report to the Department of Labor and Workforce Development's Workers' Compensation Division within one working day. Your employer should also inform its workers' compensation insurance carrier of the injury. The insurance company then has up to 14 days to file additional forms with the Workers' Compensation Division.

Your employer's insurance company will contact you within two days of being informed about your injury and within 15 days will tell you whether it accepts or denies your claim.

Workers' compensation benefits do not last forever and sometimes insurers deny claims. That is why it is important for an injured employee to file a form known as the "Request for Benefit Review Conference" with the Workers' Compensation Division. If you are seeking benefits after a claim is denied, you generally have up to one year after the injury occurs to file this form. If you are seeking to extend benefits, you generally have one year from the date you last received benefits.

Tennessee Workers' Compensation Resources

If you have more questions about Tennessee workers' compensation law, including questions regarding benefits or the claims process, contact the Tennessee Workers' Compensation Division.

If you would like to find out more information on workplace safety policies and procedures, contact your local Tennessee OSHA office. OSHA (or the Occupational Safety and Health Administration) is the governmental body in charge of overseeing workplace safety guidelines.

Finally, if you have further questions about a specific claim or what Tennessee workers' comp benefits are available to you, you should contact a Tennessee workers' compensation lawyer.