Johnson City, TN Workers’ Comp Lawyer and Job Injury Attorney
When employees are hurt on the job and unable to work, the last thing they need is to battle insurance companies to get medical bills paid, wages reimbursed, or the fair compensation they are entitled to under the law. At The Law Offices of Mark T. Hurt, we understand the stress placed on injured workers and their families when a claim is denied.
Qualifying for and receiving Tennessee workers’ compensation benefits can be complicated, as employers and insurers have a financial incentive to deny valid claims and force workers into rehabilitative programs that do not adequately equip them for returning to gainful employment. Experienced Kingsport workers’ compensation lawyer Mark Hurt has the medical and investigative resources needed to challenge workers’ compensation claim denials. With over three decades of legal and trial experience, he understands how to tenaciously fight insurance carriers, and what is required under Tennessee workers’ compensation statutes in order to obtain full compensation and medical treatment.
If you need help filing for benefits or if your workers’ compensation claim has been denied, or if you are otherwise not being treated fairly, we invite you to call our office at 276-623-0808 to schedule a free case evaluation. As a workers’ comp attorney, Mark Hurt can evaluate the facts of your injury and advise you as to the benefits to which you are entitled.
How Much Does a Workers’ Comp Attorney Cost?
There are no upfront legal fees for us to handle your case. We only get paid if compensation is obtained; our fee is capped (by law) at 20% of the recovery or award received.
What Is Workers’ Compensation?
Workers’ compensation laws exist to ensure that individuals are fairly compensated for injury and lost wages if they are hurt on the job and cannot work because of a work injury. Fault is not considered in workers’ compensation cases. Thus if an employee is hurt at a worksite, the employee is entitled to compensation based upon the scope of the injury, even if the employee was at fault for their injury.
Through this “no fault” system, employees do not have to take an employer to court, or to prove that their employer was negligent, in order to recover compensation.
To be eligible for benefits, a worker must have been employed at the time of the accident, and the injuries must occur during the course of employment. Injuries can arise in a wide range of scenarios, such as slips and falls, back and neck injuries, hearing loss, or even having an existing injury exacerbated by a job activity or toxic chemical exposure.
Does My Employer Have to Provide Workers’ Comp. Coverage?
Tennessee mandates that certain employers provide workers’ compensation benefits. In general, companies in Tennessee that must provide workers’ compensation benefits include:
- Companies with five or more employees;
- Construction companies with one or more employees; and
- Any employer in the coal mining industry.
There are certain limited exceptions to these rules; however, if a Tennessean is injured on the job, chances are that an employer is required to provide benefits.
What Types of Workers’ Comp Benefits Are Available?
The workers’ compensation benefits for each claimant vary depending on the extent and nature of the injury sustained. The following are some of the benefits available under Tennessee law:
- Medical Benefits. If an employer’s workers’ compensation insurance company determines a covered injury exists, medical treatment must be provided at no cost to the injured worker for as long as a treating physician says it is necessary. Future medical expenses can also be covered if a treating physician authorizes the care. Under the law, such treatment must continue until the point at which “maximum medical improvement” (or “MMI”) has occurred (the point at which a worker’s condition has stabilized, and further functionality improvements are not expected).
- Temporary Disability Benefits. If a doctor states that an employee cannot work or cannot work in the same capacity as before an injury, temporary disability benefits equal to sixty-six and two-thirds percent of the average weekly wages (“AWW”) from before the injury may be awarded. The AWW is the average wage earned during the 52 weeks before an injury. Benefits typically begin on the eighth day after a disability begins and continue until an individual returns to work, refuses to comply with a reasonable request for medical treatment, or a physician determines that the worker has reached MMI.
- Permanent Disability Benefits. If a worker is permanently disabled and unable to perform any work, they may be entitled to receive benefits until they become eligible for Social Security retirement benefits.
- Death Benefits. When a loved one is killed in a workplace accident or because of a job-related illness, surviving dependents may be eligible to collect a death benefit based upon the decedent’s wages and burial expenses of up to $10,000.
What Types of Cases Do You Handle?
Mark Hurt advises, counsels, and represents employees regarding work-related injuries and death, including (but not limited to) matters arising from or related to:
- Head and Traumatic Brain Injuries and Bleeds
- Spinal Cord Injuries
- Herniated Back Discs
- Neck Injuries
- Partial or Total Paralysis
- Mental and Psychological Injuries Caused by Work-Related Stress
- Amputations of Limbs
- Occupational Diseases (such as asbestos’s or mesothelioma) and Cancer
- Joint Injuries
I Was Injured at Work. How Can You Help Me?
No matter the size of a case, we assist clients with everything from the filing of the initial accident report and notice of injury to the conclusion of a claim. If you were injured at work and retain our firm, we will work diligently in protecting your rights and seeking to recover for you all compensation and benefits to which you are entitled. We regularly assist with the following legal issues:
- Filing of workers’ compensation claims
- Appealing workers’ compensation denials
- Arranging for secondary physician opinions regarding disability determinations
- Filing third-party negligence claims (including personal injury and wrongful death suits)
- Filing Social Security Disability benefit applications and appealing denials
- Initiating wrongful termination lawsuits for those fired as the result of filling a workers’ compensation lawsuit.
What Does Workers’ Compensation Cover?
If an individual has a valid claim, they may be entitled to receive reimbursement for the following expenses:
- Past medical expenses
- Future doctor visits
- Prescription medications
- Emergency room visits
- Transportation costs (for visits farther than 15 miles)
- Crutches and other durable medical equipment
- Nursing care
- Reasonably necessary dental work
- Lost wages
How Does the Workers’ Compensation Claim Process Work?
The first step after incurring a workplace injury is to report the incident to a supervisor or to a company’s human resources department. Injuries must be reported to an employer within 15 calendar days of when the condition was discovered (or should have been discovered). If an injury is not timely reported, the right to benefits may be lost. As a best practice, it is crucial to provide notification of an injury immediately, to avoid raising suspicion from an employer (and their insurance carrier) about whether a claim is work-related.
After receiving notification, an employer must submit a First Report of Work Injury or Illness form to its insurance carrier within one day, regardless of whether it believes an injury is work-related. After that, the employer must provide the injured worker with a list of treating physicians. To memorialize the medical provider selection, an Employee’s Choice of Physician Form must be executed by both the employer and employee.
A claim decision must be rendered within fifteen days of providing verbal or written notice of a workplace injury. If a claim is approved, an insurance adjuster must immediately initiate the process for paying the claim. If denied, the insurance carrier must issue a Notice of Denial.
What Happens If My Workers’ Comp. Claim is Denied?
Many claims are denied, even when individuals have valid, qualifying injuries. Further, many other employees are paid fewer benefits than they rightfully deserve. Fortunately, injured workers have a right to appeal a claim decision within one year from the date of the accident or injury, last payment of benefits, or last authorized medical treatment (whichever occurs later).
A claim can be challenged in mediation, at a hearing before the Court of Workers’ Compensation Claims, through an appeal with the Workers’ Compensation Board, or in an appeal with the Tennessee Supreme Court. Appealing a denial can be a complicated and exhausting process; we are experienced in representing clients throughout the workers’ compensation appeals process, including tenaciously representing clients at mediation and hearings before judges.
Call Our Offices to Schedule a Complimentary Consultation to Learn About the Benefits to Which You May Entitled.
Workers’ compensation benefits can provide much-needed economic stability while a worker is recovering from an injury. At The Law Offices of Mark T. Hurt, we have in-depth knowledge of Tennessee workers’ compensation laws and can fight for the justice you deserve. Call our office to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation and to get started.
 TN Code § 50-60-226. Medical costs that have been voluntarily paid by the employer or its insurer are not included in determining the award for purposes of calculating attorney’s fees.