November 2nd, 2015|
When a worker in Tennessee is hurt on the job, the costs they will face can be significant. Often times, being out of work and unable to earn income only compounds the expensive medical bills an injured worker is facing.
Luckily, state law requires employers to provide benefits for employees who are injured while working at no fault of their own. It’s important to remember there are several different types of benefits to consider and our Nashville workers’ compensation lawyers at Ponce Law are here to explain the differences between each.
These are benefits that are paid to cover most medical expenses an injured worker incurs. Medical benefits can include payments for any medications, surgeries, treatments, or rehabilitation a work-related injury victim may require.
Some injuries may require lifelong care, so it’s important that when filing a Tennessee workers’ compensation claim, the victim remembers to consider future medical costs they may incur.
If the injury is expected to keep the victim out of work for an extended period of time, the victim may be eligible to receive compensation for lost wages as well through temporary or permanent disability benefits.
The families of workers who are killed as the result of an on-the-job accident may also be eligible for benefits to help cover certain expenses. The Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development outlines what costs death benefits can be used to cover.
Our team of attorneys at Ponce Law recognize how complex the process of determining what benefits you qualify for after an accident can be. We encourage you to visit our website to learn more about Tennessee workers’ compensation benefits and how they can affect you.
August 24th, 2015|
When a Tennessee worker is injured while working, he or she is typically eligible for worker’s compensation benefits. But what types of expenses are covered?
Workers covered under Tennessee workers’ compensation should have all medical expenses covered under their employer’s insurance. According to the Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development, these benefits must be ordered by an authorized treating physician and can include the costs of surgery, medicines, medical supplies, nursing or psychological services, hospitalization, and even dental work.
Those who have suffered on-the-job injuries are also often qualified to receive wage replacement benefits. There are three types of benefits an injured worker can receive:
- Temporary disability benefits
- Permanent disability benefits
- Death Benefits
Determining Your Best Options
Many factors come into play when determining the amount of benefits an injured worker should receive. At Ponce Law, we suggest speaking with a qualified attorney to help make sure you’re getting the benefits you deserve if you’re considering applying for workers’ compensation or have a claim that was denied in the past.
April 29th, 2015|
When workers in Tennessee are injured on the job, they often have a right to seek workers’ compensation benefits through their employers. But kawmakers have been considering changing the law to allow businesses to “opt out” of such coverage if they meet certain standards.
The Nashville workers’ compensation attorneys at Ponce Law explain that under Senate Bill 721, which is sponsored by House Representative, Jeremy Durham, employers would be able to ditch their Tennessee workers’ compensation coverage if they could provide a minimum amount of compensation to pay workers injured on the job. Employers are required to provide at least $300,000 in coverage for potential medical expenses, as well as a minimum of $3.75 million for possible lawsuits. Also, the company must provide financials to prove they are capable of making payments.
While the bill seems like a compromise between employees and businesses that didn’t want to take part in the current Tennessee workers’ compensation program, the bill has been put on hold until at least next year by lawmakers. The Knoxville News Sentinel reports the bill will be filed and reconsidered during next year’s legislative session.
At Ponce Law, we believe it’s important that workers be fairly compensated for injuries on the job. Our Nashville personal injury lawyers will be following how this bill progresses through the legislative system during the coming months.
April 1st, 2015|
When most Tennessee residents are injured on the job, they have the right to seek workers’ compensation benefits. But do undocumented workers have equal rights to workers’ compensation benefits after work injuries?
The Nashville workers’ compensation attorneys at Ponce Law explain that a recent court ruling states the answer to that question is yes—undocumented workers have rights to the same scale of work comp benefits as documented workers.
Reports indicate a Davidson County Chancery Court judge issued the ruling earlier this week after hearing the case of Carlos Martinez, a 39-year-old undocumented worker from Guatemala. The man was using a lawnmower when he slipped and fell. He was then struck by the machine’s blades and suffered serious injuries to his arms. Brian Dunigan, a senior attorney at Ponce Law, represented Mr. Martinez on the case.
Due to the victim’s status as an undocumented worker, The Tennessean explains that he was facing a cap on the amount of workers’ compensation benefits he could receive for his injuries. But Chancellor Russell T. Perkins ruled the law unconstitutional because it attempted to preempt federal immigration law.
“This was one of our major driving points in bringing this case, was test that statute,” stated Mr. Dunigan. “These folks come here to work, and it just winds up being a very unfair situation.”
As a result of the ruling, Martinez was awarded about $30,000 in wage loss damages.
A spokesman for the Tennessee Attorney General’s office stated that the office was reviewing the outcome of the case and what their next steps may be.
February 25th, 2015|
Workers injured on the job often have a right to seek Tennessee workers’ compensation coverage. However, a debate is stirring after two Tennessee lawmakers proposed a bill that would allow businesses in our state to “opt out” of providing this coverage.
Under current law, most businesses are required to purchase insurance that provides Tennessee workers’ compensation benefits to employees injured while working. New regulations proposed under SB0721 would allow businesses to “opt out” if they can demonstrate that they can establish their own private workers’ compensation programs.
An article from The Tennessean says the bill would also cap benefit coverage at 156 weeks unless expenses were greater than $300,000. Current laws allow for coverage as long as treatment is needed.
If the bill passes, Tennessee would only be the third state in the nation to allow businesses to “opt out” of providing employees with workers’ compensation coverage through an insurance policy.
These changes come in the wake of reforms that were implemented last year, such as moving from the use of the state’s court system to a more administrative system.
The Nashville personal injury lawyers with Ponce Law point out these changes highlight the ever-shifting landscape of workers’ compensation law and the need to have an experienced legal representative by your side if you plan to file for Tennessee workers’ compensation benefits.
February 4th, 2015|
When an employee is hurt on the job in the Volunteer State, they may be entitled to Tennessee workers’ compensation benefits. But to qualify, medical conditions must typically meet standards outlined by the American Medical Association (AMA).
We say typically because exceptions can be made. Take the case of a Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. employee who was recently awarded Tennessee workers’ compensation benefits due to hearing loss sustained while working for the company.
Employees of Goodyear weren’t offered hearing protection until around 30 years ago. According to Business Insurance, the worker claims his exposure to loud noise while working caused him to lose part of his hearing at frequencies above 3,000 hertz. While the AMA’s Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment only outlined disability standards for lower frequencies, the victim was ruled to have a 30 percent permanent partial disability benefit rating.
Goodyear appealed the decision, arguing the worker shouldn’t be covered since his condition was not covered under AMA guides. The Tennessee Supreme Court disagreed and awarded the worker benefits.
January 26th, 2015|
When most Tennessee workers get injured on the job, they have a right to apply for Tennessee workers’ compensation benefits. Too often though, these individuals don’t receive the care they deserve, prompting some researchers to examine what factors can help improve the outcomes of injured workers.
Last year, a team with the Workers’ Compensation Research Institute interviewed 402 workers who suffered on-the-job injuries in 2011. They found two main areas that could help improve the outcomes of these cases.
The first was the amount of trust between the employee and the employer. Many injured Tennessee workers—45 percent to be exact—feared being fired from their jobs after being injured. If this is the case, many workers may fail to report injuries, putting them at risk of serious complications that could further extend their inability to work.
The team also determined that taking a closer look at conditions that accompany injuries—referred to as comorbid conditions—often suffered by workers. Some of the most typically reported comorbid conditions include hypertension and diabetes. Furthermore, almost 30 percent of injured workers reported suffering from more than one comorbid condition.
November 21st, 2014|
Most employees in Tennessee have a right to file for workers’ compensation benefits if they’re injured on the job, but what about illegal immigrants? Do they have the same right to these benefits as legal workers? The Nashville workers’ compensation lawyers with Ponce Law explain a recent court decision says yes.
A recent report from HR.BLR.com states the Tennessee Court of Appeals has ruled illegal immigrants have the same right to file a workers’ compensation claim as any other worker.
There are four reasons for the decision. First, there’s an exception to the state’s at-will employment laws that prohibit employers from firing employees for filing workers’ compensation claims. Undocumented workers are also not excluded from the definition of “employee” outlined in state workers’ compensation laws and these individuals are allowed to file suits in other courts.
The court was also concerned that a ruling prohibiting illegal immigrants from filing workers’ compensation claims could lead to increasingly dangerous work environments.
So where should you begin if you’ve been injured on the job? Hiring an attorney is a great first step.
August 8th, 2014|
Last year, Tennessee legislators passed a bill that massively overhauled the way the state’s workers’ compensation system operates. That’s why the Nashville workers’ compensation lawyers would like to make you aware of the reforms that went into effect on July 1, 2014.
One of the major shifts is that claims are now decided by an administrative board rather than the civil court system. According to The Chattanoogan, Governor Bill Haslam appointed three judges to the board earlier this month. Their terms will range from 2-6 years.
Other changes were made to the way permanent disability ratings are handed out. Now, ratings will be based on the body as a whole, and workers eligible to receive permanent disability benefits will be eligible to continue receiving payments equal to their disability rating if they return to work. Also, pain will not be considered when assigning an impairment rating.
The maximum amount of time benefits can be paid has been increased to 450 weeks as well.
At Ponce Law, we understand how complex the laws overseeing workers’ compensation benefits in our state can be. That’s why if you’ve been hurt at work and have questions regarding your legal rights, we encourage you to contact our legal staff. Call us anytime at 615-244-4325 to get in touch with our legal staff.
August 4th, 2014|
State law in Tennessee requires most employers to carry insurance policies to cover the costs of work accident injuries. However, many companies try to avoid this responsibility by misclassifying workers or paying employees in an illegal manner.
The bad news is the injured workers are the ones who end up paying in situations like this. The good news is the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce (TDLW) is making efforts to prevent employer fraud to improve workers’ access to Tennessee workers’ compensation benefits.
Clarksville Online reports the first step taken by the TDLW was establishing the Employee Misclassification Advisory Task Force to come up with four recommendations for improving access to workers’ compensation in Tennessee. These recommendations include:
- Increasing enforcement – Cases of mismanaging employees or their pay are directed to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation or the appropriate District Attorney for investigation and prosecution. Tips lines have been established to report employer misconduct.
- Having More Investigators On Hand– Expanding the workforce, especially with bilingual detectives to allow more potential cases to be examined in a timely manner.
- Improving Technology– Acquiring fraud protection software is crucial to achieving the mission of preventing workers and payments from being misclassified by employers.
- Increasing Public Awareness– Campaigns to educate workers about their rights will help foster a grassroots mission to ensure workers’ health and safety.
At Ponce Law, our Nashville personal injury lawyers know the importance of workers’ compensation coverage, and we are hopeful the actions taken by the state will improve compliance with Tennessee’s workers’ compensation laws.