Chattanooga Workers’ Compensation Lawyers
If you’ve been injured on the job, you may be aware that your employer is likely required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. You may know that, under workers’ compensation, you are entitled to some money. But you may not know how much money or what it covers, and you may be unsure about what you need to do to claim workers’ compensation benefits.
When you’re injured and out of work, you and your family can quickly feel the pressure of the financial strain of lost income and medical bills. That’s why you need the Chattanooga injury attorneys of The Davis Firm, LLC to help you understand your rights and seek the compensation you deserve for your job-related injuries.
Attorney Scott Davis has the experience to pursue the compensation you deserve. Having previously defended insurance companies for over 15 years, he knows the ways insurers fight injury claims. Today, he uses that experience and knowledge to help injured people get the compensation and justice they deserve.
With his more than 200 cases tried to verdict, the insurance companies know to take him seriously. Before working in insurance defense, he served as a judge advocate in the U.S. Air Force, so he understands what it means to uphold the values of service and respect.
If you’re having trouble getting your employer or its workers’ compensation insurer to pay the benefits you believe you deserve, contact Scott Davis, a Chattanooga workers’ compensation lawyer at The Davis Firm, LLC, today. It costs you nothing to learn more about your rights and about the compensation you and your family may be entitled to.
Why You Need Our Attorneys to Help with a Workers’ Comp Claim
If you’re injured on the job, you may be lucky if your employer and its workers’ compensation insurer accept responsibility and pay all the benefits you are entitled to under the law. But in many cases, employers or their insurers deny that a claimant’s injury is work-related, contest the necessity of certain medical treatments, or try to assert that a disabled employee can return to work.
If you and your employer are in a dispute over your benefits, you need an attorney to help you pursue your workers’ compensation claim.
Workers’ compensation claims can get incredibly detailed and complex, especially regarding the extent of your injuries and how they affect your ability to work. You need a workers’ compensation attorney who is familiar with the arguments that insurers make when they claim that certain medical treatments are unnecessary or that you can return to work.
Scott Davis is a tough cross-examiner who can grill the medical experts brought in to support the claim that your injury has resolved. With over 15 years’ experience in the insurance industry learning how insurance companies try to fight claims, Scott Davis of The Davis Firm, LLC is an experienced attorney you need to help you successfully pursue your workers’ compensation claim.
What Workers’ Comp Benefits Cover
Workers’ compensation benefits typically cover two main categories:
- Medical care for work-related injuries and illnesses — These benefits can cover surgical procedures, hospital bills, doctor’s visits, medication, durable medical equipment, and therapy, as well as other medically necessary treatments. However, they must be authorized by your employer or its insurer.
- Wage replacement — An injured worker is entitled to two-thirds of their average weekly wage, up to a limit. In Georgia recipients are limited to a weekly payment of $500. The sum is calculated by averaging the payments in the 52 weeks the claimant worked preceding the date of injury. This amount may be reduced if the worker is able to return to their job and work fewer hours. Wage replacement usually terminates once the worker returns to their pre-injury duties or accepts a new job with a wage equal to or greater than their pre-injury job. However, if the worker cannot return to their old position or obtain a new job with the same or better pay, wage replacement may continue to fill in any gaps in income or continue in full until the worker reaches retirement age.
Workers’ compensation can also provide other benefits, such as:
- Mileage reimbursement — Covers travel to and from medical appointments
- Vocational rehab — Assistance and training for new employment if the worker is unable to return to their former job
- Funeral expenses — Partial compensation to the family of a deceased worker for funeral and burial expenses.
- Death benefits — Partial wage replacement for a deceased worker’s family (up to a maximum amount)
The Davis Firm, LLC’s workers’ compensation lawyers can help you understand the benefits you and your family may be entitled to for your work-related injury.
How Long Do You Have to File a Workers’ Comp Claim?
If you’ve been injured on the job, you have a narrow window of time to report your injury to your employer. In Georgia, you have one month from the date of injury to report your injury. In Tennessee, you have 15 days from the date of injury or the date your physician determines your injury is work-related. Failure to timely report your injury to your employer may cause you to lose eligibility for workers’ compensation benefits.
Ultimately, if your employer declines to provide you with workers’ compensation benefits, you may need to file a claim for benefits by filling out a form and providing copies to the state board of workers’ compensation, your employer, and your employer’s workers’ compensation insurer. In both Georgia and Tennessee, you have one year from the date of your injury to file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits.
If Your Workers’ Comp Claim Is Denied
If your workers’ compensation claim is denied, that means your employer or its workers’ compensation insurer believes that your injury is not work-related and, therefore, is not covered by workers’ compensation. However, you have the right to challenge this denial of your claim by filing a petition for benefits determination.
Even if your employer and its insurer accept that you were injured on the job, you may disagree about the amount of workers’ compensation benefits they say you deserve. You may also dispute details of specific medical treatments or whether you can return to your job or a new job with the same or greater pay.
In such cases, you and your employer may participate in mediation to resolve the dispute. If mediation fails, you can proceed to a hearing before a workers’ compensation judge, who can consider evidence and testimony before rendering a formal decision.
If you are dissatisfied with that decision, you can appeal to an administrative appeals board. That is usually the last step in the administrative process. If you are still dissatisfied with the decision, your last option is to appeal to the courts.
What to Do If You Have Been Hurt at Work
If you believe you’ve been injured on the job, you should immediately report the incident and your injury to your supervisor. If you wait too long to report your injury, you may lose the right to workers’ compensation benefits.
If your injury requires immediate medical attention, you should go to the emergency room or otherwise seek prompt medical treatment to stabilize your injury. However, your employer will ultimately offer you the choice of an authorized treating physician. This physician will report back to your employer when they determine you are able to return to work and details on any limitations on the work you can do. Failure to comply with your physician’s recommendations can jeopardize your benefits.
You and/or your supervisor should complete the appropriate workers’ compensation claim forms prescribed by the state. This form will initiate the workers’ compensation claims process. If your employer and their insurer accept your injury as a compensable claim, you will start receiving benefits immediately. However, if they contest whether your injury is work-related, you will need to go through an administrative hearing process and possibly file suit in court to assert your right to benefits.
If you run into any dispute with your employer or its workers’ compensation insurer over the benefits you believe you are entitled, you should contact an experienced workers’ compensation attorney, such as the Chattanooga workers’ compensation lawyers at The Davis Firm, LLC to help you fight for the compensation you deserve.
Understanding Your Rights Beyond Workers’ Comp
Generally, your right to sue for damages for a workplace injury is barred by the state’s workers’ compensation laws. The intent of workers’ compensation is to give injured workers prompt, no-fault compensation for their lost wages and medical expenses.
However, there are limited circumstances in which you may be entitled to sue for damages:
- If you were injured on the job by a defective product (products liability)
- If you were injured on the job by a toxic substance (toxic tort)
- If you were injured by your employer’s intentional conduct (intentional tort)
- If your employer does not have required workers’ compensation insurance
- If a third-party caused your injury (intentional tort/personal injury negligence)
Even if you have another legal claim on top of your workers’ compensation claim, under Georgia and Tennessee law, your employer or its workers’ compensation insurer may be entitled to subrogate (substitute) your claim. That means they continue to pay your workers’ compensation benefits while pursuing your claims against third parties to compensate the employer or its insurer for the benefits they’ve paid out to you.
In some cases, the money you recover from a third-party lawsuit may be in addition to workers’ compensation benefits. For example, workers’ compensation does not cover losses such as pain and suffering. However, you could receive significant compensation for such losses in a third-party lawsuit.
Common Types of Workplace Accidents
Some of the most common kinds of workplace accidents include:
- Slip/trip and fall – Injuries can occur by slipping on fluids or slippery substances or objects or by tripping over objects or uneven surfaces.
- Overexertion and repetitive motion – Jobs involving some degree of manual labor can cause injuries by physically exerting body parts past their limits or causing soft tissue injuries, such as carpal tunnel syndrome or tennis elbow, through repetitive motions.
- Falling objects – Employees can injure themselves attempting to retrieve objects from high shelves or when objects are accidentally dropped from heights.
- Falls from heights – Personnel can also fall from unprotected heights, even when wearing the appropriate equipment.
- Motor vehicle accidents – Employees can be injured in motor vehicle accidents while driving on the job.
- Equipment entanglement – Workers can have clothing, jewelry, hair, or body parts caught by any kind of machinery or equipment.
- Toxic exposure – Employees may be exposed to toxic fumes or substances at work.
- Violent incidents – Workers may also be subject to violent incidents in the workplace, particularly security personnel and first responders. Violent incidents may be a common occurrence on the job that may cause both physical and psychological injury.
No matter how you or your loved one was injured on the job, contact the trusted Chattanooga workers’ compensation attorneys at The Davis Firm, LLC today to start the process of claiming your workers’ compensation benefits.
Understanding Attorneys’ Fees in Workers’ Comp Claims
In both Georgia and Tennessee, workers’ compensation attorneys are required to accept cases on contingency. That means you do not pay any attorneys’ fees unless your lawyer can obtain workers’ compensation benefits for you.
You and your attorney will agree to a fee represented by a percentage of your recovery or award, which generally does not include medical costs voluntarily paid by your employer or its workers’ compensation insurer. That fee is not to exceed 20 percent in Tennessee or 25 percent in Georgia. Your attorney may also be entitled to deduct the costs of your case, such as filing fees, expert witnesses, and hearing transcription fees from your recovery or award.
Ultimately, the fees and costs awarded to your attorney must be approved by the state workers’ compensation board or by a workers’ compensation judge or trial judge if you proceed to a hearing or suit.
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Contact the Chattanooga Workers’ Compensation Lawyers of The Davis Firm, LLC Today
If you were injured on the job and believe your employer and its insurance company aren’t paying the benefits you believe you are entitled to, you need someone on your side who will fight for everything you deserve.
Let Attorney Scott Davis of The Davis Firm, LLC handle collecting all your medical records, preparing a strong case, negotiating with the insurance companies, and, if necessary, pursuing your claim in an administrative hearing or before the courts.
Contact the Chattanooga workers’ compensation lawyers at The Davis Firm, LLC today by phone or online to schedule a free consultation.