Why Seriously Injured Workers Need a Tennessee Lawyer
When a worker suffers a serious life altering injury on the job, one may assume that the Tennessee workers’ compensation program is the only remedy available to the seriously injured worker or deceased worker’s family. Since the insurance industry and big business interests lobbied and pushed legislation enacting new laws to limit the rights and remedies of the injured or deceased worker workers of Tennessee, it is now more important than ever to have your claim fully investigated by an experienced lawyer. A serious workplace injury or fatality must be closely investigated by an attorney on the side of the worker because what may initially appear to be a workers’ compensation claim may actually turn out to be a case involving the negligence of a third-party and often times involves a dangerous product or piece of equipment.
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured or have lost a loved one to a workplace accident you may have what is called a third-party liability claim. A third- party liability claim is a type of action in which an injured employee, in addition to pursuing workers compensation benefits from the employer, seeks damages against a third-party for contributing to the employee’s injury. Don’t wait for help from the employer’s insurance representatives who are trained to protect the interest of the employer and the insurance industry. Call us today to request your free consultation: 1-844-683-6229. We’ve successfully represented seriously injured clients in the Tennessee Valley for more than two decades, helping individuals and families obtain the compensation they need to put their lives back together and get on with their lives.
Call law office of John R. Colvin today to schedule your no-obligation consultation: (931) 962-1044.
Erosion of Workers’ Rights
In the past 10 to 12 years, benefits afforded to workers under worker compensation programs have been reduced in most states. In Tennessee, benefits to workers with permanent partial disabilities have been reduced by nearly 25 percent, and workers also face a greater burden of proof to qualify for workers’ compensation.
Raising the burden of proof might have been an effort to weed-out people taking advantage of workers’ compensation when they don’t really need it, but now some people desperately in need of help are finding their workers’ comp claims are tied-up in review processes.
Many businesses do show great concern for injured workers, but some will do whatever they can to dodge their responsibility to compensate those injured on the job. An example of that is the case of a worker who was injured at his job in Whiteville. He was not documented to work in the United States, but he filed a workers’ compensation claim, and then his employer allegedly confronted him, yelling expletives, before firing him.
The man’s employer attempted to turn his illegal work status against him, saying that because he wasn’t documented to work in the United States, he couldn’t claim he had been wrongfully terminated from his job, and a Hardeman County Tennessee court agreed. However, the Tennessee Court of Appeals reversed that ruling, finding the man’s employer likely knew of his illegal work status and that his status didn’t bar him from filing for workers’ compensation or wrongful discharge.
Current state of Tennessee Workers’ Compensation claims
Workers’ comp claims in Tennessee are no longer heard by the State’s trial courts in each of its 95 counties, which had been the case since the inception nearly 100 years ago of workers’ rights and the Tennessee Workers’ Compensation Law. Pursuant to recent legislation written by and on behalf of the insurance industry and large employers, claims arising after July 1, 2014 are now handled by a state Administrative Review Program. One positive aspect of the new law provides that if the review process determines the claim is warranted, Tennessee law states employers must begin compensating the injured party within 20 days, or face civil penalties. Unfortunately, the reality is many injured people end up waiting months for compensation, because insurers and employers dispute claims or ask for more time to conduct further investigation at the administrative level.
Getting Help for a Third-Party Claim
If you’ve been seriously injured on the job or a loved one has been killed in the workplace, the current Tennessee Workers’ Compensation Law will not only operate to limit your claim and your family’s recovery in comparison to the prior law in effect before 2014, but the statutorily defined benefits will be the only compensation allowed to be recovered unless one can assert a third-party liability claim. Moreover, a third party liability claim will open the doors of justice to the local courthouse and the right to have such a case presided over by a constitutionally elected judge, all of which has otherwise been taken away from Tennessee workers by powerful out of state lobbyists and business interests.
When insurers know you have legal representation, they’re less likely to engage in stalling tactics, or to pay you less than you actually need to cover your loss. John R. Colvin works at achieving the best outcome for his seriously injured clients and their families, if you have questions or need help with a serious workplace injury, call our office today at (931) 962-1044, or fill out our online contact form.