For the past seven years, I have represented the insurance carriers for several governmental entities and private industries in regard to defending workers' compensation claims of injured employees.   I have also represented employees seeking compensation for their injuries and employees who are seeking to compel their employers to provide medical treatment for their work related injuries. 

Workers compensation benefits can include temporary disability benefits, lump sum permanent disability settlements, and life time medical treatment.   I will explain to you, at no costs, what the potential value of your permanent disability claim is based upon your compensation rate, impairment rating and other facts about your case.  

I regularly assist employees through the process of seeking a Benefit Review Conferences as well as administrative hearings requesting assistance of the State Department of Labor, and follow through with filing suit to obtain a permanent partial or total disability award if necessary.

Workers compensation awards are largely determined by a complex mathematical formula, the key elements of which are the impairment rating and your compensation rate (2/3 of your average weekly wage).  The basic formula for partial disability (not total disability) is as follows:


  +    Your impairment rating 

  X   Times a multiplier between 1.5 and 6.
         The multiplier is capped at 1.5 times the rating for persons who make a
         "meaningful return to work," that being they returned to work at an
         equal or higher wage and their injury was accommodated by the employer.
         If an employer fails to accommodate the employee or demotes the employee
         the employee, the rating can be multiplied beyond the cap up to 6 times the rating.
         (1.5 times is the lowest multiplier) 
         NEVER EXCEPT LESS THAN 1.5 TIMES YOUR RATING! 
             


  X   Times the maximum number of weeks benefits applicable to the injury
         (400 weeks is the maximum for a "Body as a Whole" Injury, except that social security
         eligible employees are capped at 250 weeks)         

         (Scheduled Injuries," such as hand, foot, arm, leg have less maximum weeks)

  =   This Number is the total number of weeks benefits you will get

  X   Times the person's Compensation Rate
          (The comp. rate is determined by 2/3 of your Average Weekly Wage)

Ex:  10% rating X 1.5 = 15%   x 400 week maximum=  60 weeks benefits x comp rate = award          

The good thing about workers compensation benefits is that there is no requirement of proving negligence or culpability on the part of the employer.  Instead, the issue is whether the injury occurred in the course and scope of employment and proving a causal connection between the injury and work.  Recent changes to Tennessee Workers Compensation laws have greatly reduced the amount of permanent partial disability benefits available to the vast majority of injured workers.  In response to this legislative change, the judiciary has generally become more favorable to the case of the injured employee and often seeks to maximize awards to employees whose employers do not accommodate the disability and limitations caused by the on the job injury.

I am also familiar with "On the Job Injury" or OJI programs recently put in place by many municipal governments, and caution anyone making an OJI claim with their governmental employer to seek counsel from the outset of the injury and claim, as the OJI programs place specific administrative deadlines to appeal certain hearing panel decisions and are by design being used to screen and effectively reduce and eliminate compensation paid to employees.

MY ADVICE ABOUT ANY WORKERS COMPENSATION CLAIM:

Here are my tips for maximizing your workers' compensation claim:

(1)   REPORT YOUR INJURY IMMEDIATELY

Report your injury immediately.  The failure to timely report your injury will result in your clam being denied or dismissed.  Not all injuries are self evident and can occur overtime.  If you have a repetitive stress injury your statute of limitations deadline may run from the first day you miss form work due to the injury or when you knew or should have known the jury to have occurred.

(2)    BE HONEST

Be honest about your preexisting conditions and injuries.   Workers' compensation awards can be made even for aggravation of a pre-exiting injury.   Medical testimony is critical in any injury case and even more so in a workers compensation case.  The employer's attorney is going to try and show the doctor that you lied and that his opinions in your favor are false or fraudulent.

(3)     USE YOUR PROVIDED PANEL PHYSICIAN

Seek treatment through your authorized treatment provider you select from the panel of physicians provided by your employer.  Avid seeking treatment from your own doctors unless absolutely necessary.  If you think the doctor selected is not advocating for you, then you have the right to seek a second opinion.  Too often people seek treatment from their primary care physician and fail to provide proper notice of injury under the act.

(4)    COLLECT EVIDENCE

The amount of a workers' comp claim can increase exponentially if an employee's injury is not accommodated by the employer and the employee is not returned to work at an equal or higher wage, also known as a "meaningful return to work."  If you think an employer is going to terminate you or is failing to accommodate your injury, collect and gather all proof and physical proof to establish the same in court.

(5)     SPEAK WITH AN ATTORNEY

Get your case evaluated by an Attorney skilled in workers' comp. cases to see if the settlement offered is in line with the statutory caps applicable to your situation and determine  whether there is more money on the table that is not being offered.

(6)    NEVER ACCEPT LESS THAN 1.5 TIMES YOUR IMPAIRMENT RATING

Never settle your workers compensation case for less than 1.5 times your impairment rating.  Often times, employers and insurance companies try to pay employees based on a multiplier of less than 1.5 times the rating.  If they try to pay you less than 1.5 times the rating, you need to speak with an attorney.  If the insurance company is already making you a settlement offer of less than 1.5 times the rating, I can likely represent you for less than %20 attorney fee claim charged by other attorneys, such that you will get more than what is offerred and get more money than is being offerred.

"A TRADITION OF HONESTY, INTEGRITY
AND HELPING PEOPLE IN THEIR TIME OF NEED."

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