Although every case is different, there are a few core events that should happen in every workmen's compensation case in Tennessee. First, report your injury to your boss. This has to be done within thirty (30) days from the injury. Following the injury, your employer should offer you a choice of three (3) physicians to choose from. This is the first time in the case where it may be important to contact a lawyer or talk to your co-workers. Choosing the correct doctor can be crucial. Unfortunately, in my experience some doctors tend to work more for the benefit of the employer than act as a treating doctor for the employee. As such, it is important to speak with someone who knows the different physicians that are usually given as choices.
Options for Disability Pay
Now that you have a doctor you may be entitled to some disability pay. Specifically, if the doctor takes you off work for more than seven (7) days you will get 2/3 of you average pay. This continues until you return to work or you are released from the doctor. If you return to part-time work before being completely released by the doctor you may get a check for the difference between your part-time check and what you were earning when you were full time.
After the doctor releases you he/she will determine if you sustained a permanent impairment and permanent restrictions. If you have sustained a permanent impairment you will be entitled to some compensation as to how your injury impacts your ability to obtain work in the open labor market. The amount of compensation is largely based upon a percentage of disability you obtained. Again, an attorney can usually let you know if you impairment rating is low and whether an independent medical exam would be beneficial. I really can't stress how important this rating is in this case. The value is also base upon whether you return to work, you education, job skills and age.
Talk to an Experienced Attorney
I began my carrier defending these cases on behalf of insurance companies but now my firm only represents employees. If you have any questions, feel free to call my office.