The State of Tennessee has issued new simple guidelines for employees who have suffered injuries at work after July 1st of 2014. While there are some changes in the law, the basics remain the same, so let’s review them here:
1. Report your injury as soon as possible. This helps your case because the sooner you report a work injury, the easier it is to link it to your job. For example, if you lift a heavy box on Thursday, and your back is injured, don’t wait until after the weekend to report it! That could lead to speculation that you actually hurt yourself at home and then you will struggle to get workers’ comp to pay for treatment and lost wages.
2. Get treatment right away and keep following up with the doctor and/or chiropractor and physical therapy. You are entitled to compensation for medical treatment, lost time if taken out of work by the doctor, and a settlement if you have any permanent disability from the injury.
3. Follow doctor’s orders and do not do any activities he or she has said not to do—and do not discuss your injuries with friends, family or neighbors. When the doctor returns you to work, with or without restrictions, you must offer yourself back to work, or you can lose the job and reduce any settlement you may be entitled to recover.
4. Keep careful and meticulous records! Your paper trail of proof should include:
a. Photos of the injury if possible, and the name of the insurance adjuster and the supervisor you reported the injury to.
b. Notes given to you by the doctor or e.r., especially concerning your work status.
c. A record of all your hospital and doctor visits with the date of the visit; travel over 30 miles round trip for these visits is reimbursed by workers’ comp. Give Stillman & Friedland a list of your visits and we will calculate the mileage for you. This can add up to a sizeable amount of money with today’s gas prices! Take a sheet of paper and make a note of each visit.
d. A log of all work days missed—you are also compensated for your loss of income if you are taken out of work by the doctor for more than a week.
e. Do not quit work! Be clear that it is your intention to come back to work. If your employer fires you, you are entitled to more compensation, but if you quit you will get a smaller settlement.
If you or a loved one have suffered an injury at work, call Stillman & Friedland. Our workers’ comp specialist team will work with you to get the benefits and settlement you deserve. We care about your financial and physical recovery.