Articles Posted in Workers Compensation

Recently I discussed the current laws that can protect a woman’s job both during a pregnancy and after the birth of the child. In general there are three (3) key acts that can protect a pregnant employee’s job. These acts include the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (“PDA”), the Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) and sometimes the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). If you would like to see our discussions on these acts you can watch the interview below:

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Finding a lawyer today is not always so easy. People are bombarded with commercials and advertising but how do you find a lawyer that is right for you and your case. We always suggest that before you hire a TN work comp lawyer you should perform some basic research. The best place to start is to ask someone you know that has already been through the work comp system who they used and did they fell a good job was performed. Next look on the internet. You can usually get some basic information about a lawyer’s experience and success from their websites. Last but not least go meet with a few lawyers. A workers compensation lawsuit can be very stressful so it is important that you and your lawyer “click”.

Recently, Jim Higgins, was interviewed about this subject. You can watch the interview by clicking below:

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procedure must be followed in order for them to file a Tennessee Workers’ Compensation claim and in order for them to be able to receive this compensation. However, there are many mistakes several employees make during the process of their lawsuit or even before their lawsuit that make proving the injury to a judge difficult. I have discussed several of these common mistakes in my previous blog posts and another one I see often is that people will fail to inform their doctor about how their work-related injury actually affects their ability to work.

Many clients may feel that if they were injured while at work than the fact that this injury affects their work would be obvious, however, just because you may know that your injury affects your work, this does not mean that your insurance company or a judge will know it. This is why it is very important to tell your doctor about your pain and how it affects your work so that it can be documented in medical records. This way a judge and insurance company can have substantial proof of just how much this job injury has affected your ability to work. It is also a good idea to document your pain and problems in a journal so that you do not forget to mention it to your doctor when you go for your appointments.
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Tennessee workers’ compensation cases can be tricky to process and prove in court even when all the steps are followed properly. They can become even more difficult when common mistakes are made during the process. Another one of the most common mistakes that people may make during a workers’ compensation claim or lawsuit is talking to their doctor about the lawsuit, the insurance company, your employer, or asking the doctor for legal advice concerning your case.

In the last blog, I discussed how important it is to be honest with your doctor about your medical history, personal habits and anything else that they may need to know about the injury in order to proper diagnose it and provide the proper treatment for you. Many people may think that this also includes telling the doctor about your lawsuit, talking about your employer or your insurance company or even seeking their advice about your claim, however speaking with your doctor about the specifics of your lawsuit, may only cloud your case or create negative implications in your medical records. It may even complicate or negatively affect your medical care and treatment. It is also important to remember that anything you say in confidence to your doctor is NOT protected information once you have filed a workers’ compensation claim in court. If you have questions about your case, your employer, your insurance company, or your legal options, it is best to consult with your Tennessee workers’ compensation lawyer about it.
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Tennessee workers’ compensation claims can be complicated to win in court if the case lacks credibility or if the injury itself is called in question. This can happen most often if an employee fails to be totally honest with their doctor about their medical history and personal habits as well as any other necessary information needed for the doctor to provide an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

Many clients may not see a reason to tell their doctor about a particular medical condition or personal habit. Some clients may even feel embarrassed about revealing certain information; however, failing to provide accurate information to your doctor can lead to misdiagnosis of the injury as well as improper treatment for it. This may not only cause you to suffer more pain and problems in the future but it can cause your case for workers’ compensation to be weakened because it can damage your credibility and the court may even question the injury completely causing the case to be rejected or destroyed. If this occurs, you may not receive the compensation you need for your injury. This is why it is important to be as honest with your doctor as possible about your medical history and any personal habits that may affect the diagnosis of your injury.
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Tennessee worker’s compensation claims may be difficult to prove in court if a specific procedure is not followed by the employee and their employer soon after the injury has occurred. In the past few blogs, I have looked at common mistakes made in Tennessee worker’s compensation cases. Another mistake I often see when clients file these claims is failing to seek reasonable medical attention soon after the injury occurred. In Tennessee, worker’s compensation law requires that the injured employee has the responsibility of proving that they were injured while at the workplace. It may difficult to prove this however, if you do not seek reasonable medical attention almost immediately after you have been injured. This is why it is best to seek the medical attention you need for injury as soon as possible.

Many people may not want to seek medical attention after a work injury because they do not think they need it or because they do not want to leave work in order to seek the medical attention they need. However, if you wait to seek medical attention for a work-related injury, insurance companies may believe that this is a sign that you did not suffer significant injury because you failed to seek treatment for it. If this happens to you, please contact one of our experienced and caring worker’s compensation attorneys immediately. Another important reason to seek medical attention as soon as possible after a work-related injury is because it may take days or weeks for you to realize how injured you are, however, if a doctor examines your injury right away, they be able to detect it shortly after the incident occurred.
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The Tennessee Workers Compensation Law can be very unforgiving when employees make innocent mistakes. One of the most common mistakes we see is a failure to report your work injury. In Tennessee you must report your injury within thirty (30) days. Although, there are exceptions to this harsh rule the safest thing to do is report your injury immediately.

I think what often occurs is people feel they have just sustained a temporary injury and they don’t want to be seen as whiner. However, when the injury doesn’t go away and the worker tries to report the claim an employer will often deny covering the injury because it wasn’t timely reported. If this happens to you, please contact a work comp lawyer as soon as possible. Often the injury will be covered if the court believes the worker reported the injury once they realized it was a serious problem. However, to prevail you must make sure both the medical evidence and witness testimony supports the legal reasons for the delay.
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In Tennessee and all over the country, when employees injury themselves on the job or while performing job related tasks, they can file a workers’ compensation claim and have their medical expenses covered by their employer. In some cases however, it is difficult to determine whether or not certain injuries in specific situations should be compensated by Workers’ Compensation law. In these cases the states’ Supreme Court typically makes a ruling.

In a recent case, David Kirby was performing heating, ventilation, and air conditioning services for Memphis Jewish Nursing Home in September of 2008 and injured his right shoulder while trying to avoid falling down a flight of stairs. He had surgery for the injury in June of 2009 to repair a tendon and cartilage in his arm. Months after his surgery, David Kirby returned home after a medical appointment and found one of his dogs was running loose. He grabbed the dog by the collar and when the dog pulled away, this motion, caused David to reinjure his arm.

When the case was brought before a Tennessee Chancery Court, it was ruled that David Kirby did not act negligently when trying to restrain his dog and the re-injured arm was considered to be “a natural consequence of the original injury.” The court awarded forty percent partial disability benefits to Kirby based on the first injury and the impairment caused by the dog incident.

When the nursing home appealed the decision, the Special Workers’ Compensation Appeals Panel of the Tennessee Supreme Court confirmed the Chancery Court’s decision. It ruled testimony from Kirby’s doctor which encouraged him to push past his limits while recovering from his arm surgery. The doctor’s testimony also stated that Kirby was not restricted from walking his dog after his surgery.
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Knock on wood I have never had a client try to pursue a fraudulent Tennessee workers compensation case. I have had people call me that I felt they were trying to game the system and have promptly refused to represent those workers. However, I have represented hundreds of good hard working folks that have been injured on the job. My clients didn’t enjoy getting hurt and they had much rather been working than have a good workers compensation case. That is why it makes me so mad when I read about people that pursue fraudulent workers compensation claims. It is nothing more than stealing and it just hurts workers with legitimate claims.

Recently, I read about a few arrest that were made on employees trying to cheat the work comp system. Among the people arrested was a worker that told his girlfriend he was faking an injury so he could take a vacation to Florida. Another, was reportedly working as a coach while getting workman’s compensation payments. Yet another continued to collect checks from the work comp insurance company after her husband had died.

Assuming these allegations are true I am pleased that these people have been caught. It is also my hope that the government will investigate that insurance companies that refuse benefits without good reason to people that disparately need them. In fact, based upon my experience it is the insurance carrier that is in the wrong much more often than the injured employee.
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We have litigated Tennessee workers compensation cases for about twenty (20) years now. Over this time period I have tried many different methods to make sure the court understands my client’s case. I have found some methods work better than others but more importantly I have learned that there is no exact formula or magic bullet. Every case is different, every client is different and every Judge is different. However, there are a few general rules I recommend. Over the next few weeks I will discuss a few of my rules.

As a starter, we need to pick the witnesses who will best present our client’s problems. I have found over time that judges and jury are less receptive to people complaining about their own problems. I believe it is more important for the injured employee to discuss how they have changed their life to beat the limitations of their injury. Even thought that may not be able to perform many of the activities they did before the injury they can discuss how they still try, how they modify their life, that they are not giving up. I believe neighbors, co-workers and relatives are often better equipped to discuss the heartaches and setbacks that the injured worker has endured. I don’t know why but it seems that we are more receptive to someone else describing a person’s problems than the victim describing their own problems. Finally, if you can have someone in addition to a spouse describe the problem I think you are better off. Everyone expects a husband or wife to support their spouse so the testimony is really no big surprise. However, a co-worker has much more of an impact. They have nothing to gain or loose and in fact it can often be seen as a risk for them to testify.
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