Sullivan County Workers’ Compensation Lawyer & TN Work Injury Attorney
Under Tennessee law, most employers are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance to ensure that employees suffering from severe on-the-job injuries or illnesses can receive the medical treatment and wage replacement benefits to which they are rightfully entitled. Unfortunately, workers’ compensation insurance adjusters routinely deny claims outright or refuse to cover necessary medical treatments. As a Sullivan County workers’ comp lawyer, attorney and firm founder Mark Hurt is dedicated to protecting the rights of injured workers, and seeking for them the full pay and benefits to which they are entitled.
Our workers’ compensation practice is devoted to those who have sustained a severe injury on the job, usually one which will result in permanent partial or permanent total disability. Qualifying injuries or disabilities can include numerous types of injuries, including:
- Physical injuries, such as head trauma, brain injury, amputation, blindness, paralysis, hearing loss, and disabling muscular injury (such as severe back and neck injuries);
- Mental illness related to the workplace;
- Cancer and other illnesses caused by workplace exposure to matters such carcinogens and other toxic chemicals.
Understanding the Bias that May Exist with Employer-Recommended Doctors
When a worker is injured, the company will provide the worker with a list of doctors that can be seen about the injury, and the worker will need to choose a doctor from this list. It’s important that workers understand that the doctors on the company’s list may be biased against the worker, as the company will be paying the doctors. Also, if the doctors want to remain on the list for future cases, they will also have an incentive to favor positions favorable to the company, which may include:
- downplaying or failing to diagnose an injury;
- sending individuals back to work too soon;
- claiming an injury was pre-existing;
- claiming that injuries were not sustained in a work accident; and/or
- specifying that someone has reached the maximum medical improvement (MMI) level when this is not the case, prematurely ending benefits.
If you’ve been injured, you also have the right to see a doctor of your choosing, provided that you will be responsible for paying such doctor. Because of the inherent bias of company doctors, it will often make sense for a worker to schedule an appointment with their own doctor, particularly if they disagree with the findings of the company doctor. Moreover, with some cases like back and neck injuries and strains where the actual condition and severity may be difficult to diagnose, it may also be prudent for an injured worker to schedule an appointment with their own doctor for an independent medical opinion about the nature, severity, prognosis, and work limitations for their case.
We Represent Injured Workers Throughout the Workers’ Compensation Process
Many injured employees seeking compensation try to manage the workers’ compensation claims process alone. However, they often find that pursuing benefits can be long and challenging, involving notifications that can be hard to understand and deadlines that are easily missed. Additionally, many injured workers do not understand what actions should be taken when their rights and health are being jeopardized in order to obtain the pay and benefits to which they are entitled. Further, dealing with biased insurance adjusters can be frustrating and emotionally draining.
At The Law Offices of Mark T. Hurt, we can make the process much easier by handling filings, negotiating with insurance companies, ensuring that deadlines are met, and seeking full and fair compensation for lost wages, mounting medical bills, and all other benefits to which you are entitled.
Call Our Office to Schedule a FREE Case Evaluation!
We Only Receive a Fee if We Secure Compensation for You
Whatever the injury you sustained, it never costs anything to discuss your case with Mark Hurt, as we offer a free consultation so that injured workers can learn about their rights to compensation and benefits. We also will not charge any fee unless we are successful in helping you obtain benefits. If we secure compensation for you, our fee will be capped at 20% of the benefit award (a full explanation of fees, costs, and other expenses will be set forth in our retention agreement, which governs our representation and related matters). You will never have to worry about unexpected legal fees as your case is ongoing. Call today to schedule a free consultation to learn about your legal options.
What Should I Do If I Was Injured at Work in Tennessee?
Workers’ compensation claims have strict deadlines that must be met. If an injury is not timely reported, it can compromise benefit eligibility. Further, if too much time elapses, insurance companies may argue that an injury was sustained later or outside of work.
When individuals are severely injured in a workplace accident, it is vital to report the incident (in writing) to an employer within 15 days of the injury or of being diagnosed by a physician. Typically, injured workers should contact their HR department (if there is one), or their manager. Companies normally have the forms upon which a workplace injury should be reported.
Once an injury is reported, an employer should provide a list of at least three doctors from which an injured worker can choose and proceed with making a claim determination. If the injury is significant and occurred in the course of employment, workers’ compensation should cover all healthcare costs, regardless of who is at-fault for the accident. This means that there will be no out-of-pocket healthcare expense for the injured employee (unless the employee wishes to see their own doctor).
What Should I Do If My Workers’ Comp Claim Was Denied?
If an unethical physician claims that an injury is not work-related, or if less compensation is provided than what is rightfully deserved, an independent doctor can be consulted for a second opinion. However, the visit must be paid for by the injured worker, not the employer (and their insurance company). We regularly work with independent medical providers who are experts in evaluating workers’ compensation injuries. If an external evaluation is needed, we can put you in contact with reputable healthcare providers.
Additionally, we would invite you to call our firm. If you are denied benefits, or your case was undervalued, Mark Hurt can file an appeal to have a claim heard before Tennessee’s Court of Workers’ Compensation Claims and fight tenaciously to help in seeking full compensation. In Tennessee, it can be difficult to secure benefits for minor work injuries; however, if an injury is severe, the chances of overturning a denial are much higher.
Can I Lose My Job If I Report a Work Injury?
Tennessee law has special protections that guard against employers retaliating against employees for reporting workplace accidents and injuries. Despite regulations, some companies still unlawfully fire individuals for making workers’ compensation claims and reporting impairments. If this happens, it may be possible to file a wrongful termination claim to recover damages. As an experienced litigator with over three decades of experience, Mark Hurt not only helps with benefit claims, but he can also assist with other employment-related matters, including wrongful termination lawsuits or other illegal retaliatory actions taken by employers as the result of a workers’ compensation claim being filed.
How Much Does Workers’ Comp Pay for an Injury in Sullivan County?
Workers suffering from a severe compensable injury may be entitled to receive compensation for medical treatment, travel expenses (if travel exceeds 15 miles one-way to medical visits), and temporary wage replacement, and other benefits. Additionally, if a permanent disability is sustained, it may also be possible to recover Social Security Disability until the individual reaches retirement age and begins collecting Social Security retirement benefits.
Temporary disability benefits usually begin replacing a portion of a workers’ wages starting on the eighth day of the disability. Typically, this amount is 66.67% of the average weekly wages earning during the year before the injury, subject to some minimum and maximum. If an employee can work but makes less because of work restrictions, he or she may be entitled to reduced benefits.
Do I Have to Pay a Copay for Medical Treatment for a Compensable Injury?
No. Injured workers are not responsible for the cost of medical treatment provided by an authorized care provider for a compensable claim. In some cases, however, insurance companies may attempt to avoid paying a bill by alleging a physician did not approve medical care. If this happens to you, we can fight in seeking to have the adjuster’s determination overturned.
Injured Workers Are Entitled to Compensation. Call Today to Learn About Your Options for Collecting Workers’ Compensation Benefits!
As a dedicated Sullivan County work injury lawyer, Mark Hurt has helped numerous seriously-injured workers (across various industries) overcome common workers’ comp obstacles, such as pre-existing conditions, denied claims, undervalued injuries, returning to work too soon, and more.
At The Law Offices of Mark T. Hurt, we understand that no amount of compensation can make an injured worker whole again. Still, workers’ compensation benefits can ensure that an injured worker receives the full payment that is due, and that qualifying medical treatment be provided, without placing an injured worker and their family in financial jeopardy.
If you were severely injured in a workplace accident, workplace injury attorney Mark Hurt can assist in seeking compensation for medical care, lost wages, and all other benefits to which you may be entitled. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation!