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Suffering an injury on the job in Tennessee is never easy. You will miss time at work, struggle to pay the bills, and might not have an answer as to when you can return to work. Filing a workers’ compensation claim is one of the best ways for you to receive money while not working so you can pay your bills and put food on your table. However, is it possible for liens to be filed against the settlement you receive?

Liens on workers’ compensation settlements

It is within the workers’ compensation law in Tennessee that insurance carriers can file a lien against a third party involved in such a case. The third-party can face a lawsuit for up to one year from the date of the incident, however, the carrier does have an additional six months to file their claim:

In the event that the injured party receives compensation, the employer and the carrier shall have a subrogation lien against the recovery, and the employer may intervene in any action to protect and enforce the lien. Failure on the part of the injured party to bring an action within one year shall operate as an assignment to the employer of the right to the cause of action against the third party, but the employer will then only have six months to commence the suit after it has been assigned to them.

What is subrogation?

Subrogation, in workers’ compensation terms, is when the workers’ compensation insurance company seeks compensation from a third-party involved in the accident that left you injured. For example, the workers’ compensation policy will pay your medical costs when you file a claim. However, once your incident is settled, the insurance company will seek reimbursement for what it paid from the third party or the person who caused your injury.

Subrogation not permitted for future medical costs

When it comes to subrogation for future medical costs, employers and insurance carriers are not permitted to file liens against workers’ compensation settlements, according to Joshua Cooper v. Logistics Insight Corp., No. M2010-01262-SC-R11-CV, 2013 WL 163976 (Tenn. 2013) as heard by the Tennessee Supreme Court.

In its ruling, the Court claim the employer’s “subrogation lien against the proceeds of the settlement with the defendants in the chancery court action does not extend to the cost of future medical benefits to which Mr. Cooper may be entitled.”

Was your workers’ compensation settlement subjected to liens? If so, you might be able to fight that lien with the help of an experienced Chattanooga workers’ compensation attorney from Wagner & Wagner, Attorneys at Law. Call our office at 423-756-7923, or complete a contact form online to schedule a free consultation. We serve clients in Chattanooga and Cleveland, TN, in North Georgia, and throughout the surrounding areas.