The Tennessee Supreme Court recently addressed an issue that has been the source of significant confusion throughout the years. In general, an employee has one year to bring a workers compensation lawsuit. This time runs from the date of the injury or the last date of workers compensation benefits are provided. A difficult problem arises, however, when an employee suffers a gradual injury such as carpal tunnel syndrome or a back injury that occurs over time. The old case law said that the statute of limitations would begin to run when the employee knew or should have known they had a work related injury or the last date worked. It was very difficult to prove when an employee “should know the have a work injury.”
The court has now narrowed the test. The time now begins to run based upon the last day worked doctrine. The Court believes that if the injury is so bad an employee has to miss work the should know that they have a serious work related injury. Workmans compensation is a remedial statute and the court feels this is a more forgiving law for the workers.