Tennessee workers' compensation benefits process

Tennessee Workers’ Compensation: How to File Your Claim

Unless you’re a federal employee, each state has a unique process in place for handling workers’ compensation claims. Tennessee residents with a workplace injury or illness can file a workers’ comp claim using the steps listed below. In addition, you’ll find a chart showing statistical data for the Tennessee workers’ compensation program from 2011-2015.

Does Your Employer Have Workers’ Comp Coverage?

With few exceptions, the Tennessee Workers’ Compensation Reform Act of 2013 mandates coverage for all businesses with five or more employees. Mining or construction industry employers must provide workers’ comp coverage, even for a single employee. (However, construction employers with approved applications from the Tennessee Workers’ Compensation Exemption Registry may be exempt from mandatory coverage requirements.) This law protects all full-time and part-time employees as well as employers when someone gets sick or hurt on the job.

Related: How to Apply for Texas Workers’ Compensation Benefits

How to File Your Tennessee Workers’ Compensation Claim

According to the Tennessee Bureau of Workers’ Compensation, here’s how to file your claim:

  1. Notify your supervisor as soon as possible, but no later than 15 calendar days after the incident. Waiting any longer may disqualify you from receiving benefits under the state’s Reform Act.
  2. Your supervisor must notify your employer’s insurer within one business day using Form C-20, Tennessee Employer’s First Report of Work Injury or Illness.
  3. Once your supervisor submits initial claim paperwork, your employer’s insurance adjuster has 48 hours to contact you with additional questions. However, the insurance adjuster must either accept or deny your claim within 14 calendar days.
  4. If your claim’s approved, you’ll receive Form C-42, Agreement Between Employer/Employee’s Choice of Physician Form. This form will list at least three nearby doctors willing to treat your illness or injury under your employer’s coverage plan.
  5. You must choose an authorized physician from the options listed on Form C-42, sign the form and return it to your supervisor. Keep a signed copy for your personal records.
  6. If your claim’s denied and you wish to appeal, you have one year from the date of your injury to file a Petition for Benefit Determination Form with the Tennessee Bureau of Workers’ Compensation.

Every case is unique, so your own process may vary. Review the Beginner’s Guide to Workers’ Compensation to learn more.

Tennessee Workers’ Compensation Statistics

Nearly every U.S. state is covered in the annual Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) workers’ compensation program report. This report lists total workers’ compensation claims filed, how many employees changed jobs or missed work, and claims data for every job sector in each state. Our chart below highlights any statistical changes in the Tennessee workers’ compensation program from 2011 to 2015.

The Tennessee workers’ comp program saw the most volatility from 2012-2013, including 4,000 fewer total claims. Between 2012 and 2013, 3,500 fewer employees missed work. In April 2013, the Tennessee Workers’ Compensation Reform Act of 2013 went into effect. After that, the Tennessee workers’ comp program stabilized across all categories. Fewer service-industry workers filed workers’ comp claims in 2015, but total claims filed rose slightly and a hundred additional employees missed work, transferred jobs or had hours reduced.

If you find the Tennessee workers’ compensation process confusing, then you’re not alone. We can match you with an experienced workers’ comp attorney for free, confidential claim assistance. Whether you want a second, unbiased opinion about your case or need someone to help you during the appeals process, an experienced attorney is always your best option.

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Lori Polemenakos is Director of Consumer Content and SEO strategist for LeadingResponse, a legal marketing company. An award-winning journalist, writer and editor based in Dallas, Texas, she's produced articles for major brands such as Match.com, Yahoo!, MSN, AOL, Xfinity, Mail.com, and edited several published books. Since 2016, she's published hundreds of articles about Social Security disability, workers' compensation, veterans' benefits, personal injury, mass tort, auto accident claims, bankruptcy, employment law and other related legal issues.