A reader named Jeannie in Tennessee recently had a question about workers’ comp benefits. She asks: “If I’m injured at work and report it to my supervisor, but he doesn’t file an incident report, do I have a case? I got hurt at work and later found out I’m going to have to have surgery for a ripped ACL on my knee.”
The short answer is that your best bet, Jeannie, is to consult a lawyer to review your case. Your supervisor likely missed workers’ comp reporting deadlines under Tennessee state law. The law in your state also requires that you see 1 of 3 offered doctors approved by your employer. All of this makes your case difficult to pursue on your own, of course. But it’s easy to see if you may qualify for a free workers’ comp consultation.
What Are My Responsibilities If I’m Hurt on the Job in Tennessee?
If you have an on-the-job injury like Jeannie, the first thing you should do is seek medical attention. The only state where you have to report your injury to your supervisor before you seek medical care is Connecticut. If your injury is serious or life-threatening, go to the closest emergency room or urgent care clinic. Workers’ comp should cover urgent care medical bills no matter which doctor you see except in CT.
The other thing you must do is report your injury to your supervisor within 15 calendar days. Failure to report the incident within this timeframe could disqualify you from workers’ comp benefits later.
Remember that procedures and deadlines will vary from state to state. Jeannie was injured while working in Tennessee. Your state’s unique laws determine the steps you must follow to apply and qualify for workers’ compensation.
What Should My Supervisor Do When I Report an Injury?
In Tennessee, it is your supervisor’s responsibility to notify your employer’s insurance company within one business day using this form. (Type your state’s name into the search bar at the top of this page to find the rules that apply to your own workers’ comp claim.)
The next step comes from the insurance company. Tennessee law says they must contact you within 48 hours. They will likely have additional questions. Then, they have 14 calendar days to either approve or deny your claim.
Because Jeannie’s supervisor failed to file the proper paperwork with the company’s insurer, her case quickly became very complicated. It’s likely that because Jeannie’s supervisor didn’t file the right paperwork, her company missed the required deadlines.
Who Pays for Medical Appointments When a Worker’s Hurt in a Job Accident?
One reason it’s so important to file for workers’ comp right away is because you don’t have to pay medical costs related to your injury. This includes going to the emergency room, hospital, or any treatments or medications the doctor gives you afterwards. And that’s true regardless of which state you work in!
It’s likely that because this supervisor didn’t report Jeannie’s injury, she had to pay for those appointments on her own. This further complicates Jeannie’s potential claim for workers’ comp benefits. Another complicating issue is the fact that only doctors her employer’s insurance company pre-approved can treat her workers’ comp injury.
Beyond that, if Jeannie’s supervisor filed the proper report on time, it may have covered her related travel expenses. In most states, you can submit things like mileage reports and get paid back for money spent on gas. She likely could’ve also gotten 2/3 of her work wages while she took time off for ACL repair surgery.
If Your Supervisor Refuses to File, Contact an Attorney Immediately
If you find yourself in Jeannie’s situation, remember that you can always file the paperwork to start your own claim. Not sure how to do that? We can match you with the closest available workers’ compensation attorney for free help.
Because Jeannie’s case involves missed deadlines, her employer’s insurer might quickly deny her claim simply for not following procedure. Unfortunately, that’s legal for them to do even if Jeannie thought she did everything right.
Important: Many companies may try to avoid paying workers’ compensation benefits by missing required state paperwork filing deadlines. Or, your supervisor might simply refuse to file your claim and insist that your injury isn’t work-related. This could be a violation of your state’s workers’ comp reporting laws. One way to make sure this doesn’t happen to you? Ask your supervisor for a copy of all paperwork sent to your employer’s insurer regarding your case. If you receive nothing, then contact an attorney or your state’s workers’ compensation board immediately!
Working with an attorney to file the necessary paperwork can be a smart option in cases like Jeannie’s. Lawyers can effectively show insurance companies how the failure to report an injury on time isn’t your fault. A local, experienced attorney will know all about your state’s unique laws, procedures, and paperwork. That way, you won’t have to research everything yourself just to try and manage the process alone. In fact, we can match you with a workers’ comp lawyer today who charges nothing unless your case wins.
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Lisa Allen is a writer and editor who lives in suburban Kansas City. She holds MFAs in Creative Nonfiction and Poetry, both from the Solstice Low-Residency Program in Creative Writing at Pine Manor College. Prior to becoming a writer, Lisa worked as a paralegal, where she specialized in real estate in and around Chicago.