Though most people are thrilled to find a job and finally start earning a paycheck, this excitement can turn to panic in the event on an on-the-job injury. Thankfully, the worker's compensation system in Tennessee is designed so that workers do not have to fear being hurt at work and then left without a way to pay potentially costly medical bills.
What is worker's compensation?
Workers’ compensation is insurance that every Tennessee employer with more than five employees must carry. This insurance means that if a worker is injured while at work or becomes sick due to circumstances surrounding their job, they can receive benefits to pay for their care and compensate them for their injuries. These benefits include payment of medical expenses, disability payments and even death benefits if an injury turns fatal.
Who pays for all this?
Thankfully workers do not have the burden of paying for their own worker’s compensation insurance. Tennessee law mandates that employers are responsible for providing the coverage to their employees. The law says that workers cannot be charged for benefits or any portion of their workers’ compensation premium. However, workers’ comp insurance is not meant to take the place of the worker’s personal insurance.
What injuries are covered?
Any worker who has been injured at work or from a condition that arose out of their employment is able to file a workers’ compensation claim. The test is that the injury must in some way be job-related. This means you can even file a claim if you were injured while traveling on business; you don’t have to physically be in the office at the time the injury occurred.
Examples of some covered conditions include broken bones, back problems, knee problems, carpal tunnel syndrome and muscle pain.
Can I lose my job because of a workers' compensation injury?
Many workers fear reporting on-the-job accidents and injuries, understandably worrying that their employer might retaliate and that they might lose their job as a result. Thankfully, Tennessee laws prohibit your boss from firing you because of a workers’ comp injury. In fact, if it is discovered that an employer fired an injured worker in retaliation for a workers’ comp claim, that worker can then file a civil lawsuit and seek financial compensation in court.