As we draft blogs for our website, our attorneys attempt to identify practical, real life issues, that our clients are experiencing so that we can help others who may find themselves in similar situations. Within recent weeks, I have had the opportunity to meet several East Tennesseans who were injured at work. Of these individuals, several have been denied benefits by their Workers’ Compensation carrier due to notice of injury issues.
Pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated section 50-6-201, an injured worker must, immediately upon the occurrence of an injury, or as soon thereafter as is reasonable and practical, give or cause to give written notice to the employer unless the employer has “actual notice” of the injury. (Actual notice implies that your employer or supervisor was present at the time of injury and was aware the injury occurred.) In the event that an employer does not have actual notice and does not receive written notice of an injury within fifteen (15) days of its occurrence, the injured worker is entitled to receive “no compensation”.
So, what does this mean for you? If you have been injured at work, giving immediate notice to your employer or supervisor is crucial to any potential Workers’ Compensation claim that may arise from that injury. If you are unsure as to whether the issue will be permanent in nature, the best practice is to make your supervisor aware of the injury. For example, the “pop” or pulling sensation you felt in your back, neck, or knee may not feel significant on day one, but may worsen over the course of the next few days. Now, should an employee report every paper cut from opening the mail at their office? Of course not. However, it is better to err on the side of caution when an injury is involved and ask your employer or supervisor to allow you to complete an incident report. If your employer cannot provide an incident form for you to complete, write out a simple statement outlining the date of the injury and how it happened. Please remember to keep a copy for yourself, as well.
I hope this information proves to be helpful to you in the event you have experienced an injury at work. The attorneys at Burton McKinnish, PLLC offer free consultations in both Maryville and Sevierville. We handle workers compensation, personal injury cases, and social security disability cases, throughout East Tennessee. If you would like to speak with us, please feel free to call us at 865-774-5515 to set up a date and time that is convenient for you. If you are unable to travel, we can consult via telephone or skype.