Dedicated Chattanooga Injury Lawyers Assisting Government Employees
Straightforward counsel for local and state workers in Tennessee and North Georgia
Workers’ compensation is a state-run program that allows employees who are injured on the job to collect benefits while they recover. Every state in the country has some version of this program. But what do you do if you work for the state government, and you get hurt? Can you collect workers’ compensation?
The short answer is “No” – but that does not mean you don’t have other options available to you. At Wagner & Wagner Attorneys at Law, our Chattanooga workplace injury lawyers help public employees in Tennessee and North Georgia who have been hurt on the job. There are other ways to collect compensation for your injuries; let our family guide you through the process, so you can focus on getting well.
Tennessee’s Claims Commission and public employee injury claims
Tennessee State employees are indelible for workers’ compensation. Instead, they must make a claim via the Tennessee Claims Commission, which is overseen by the Tennessee Department of Treasury. The Division of Claims Administration actually works with a third-party to help process claims by State employees; this is important, because the state itself normally handles all workers’ comp claims.
The State has very specific rules about what you must do if you’re hurt while on the job. You can download the complete list, but here is a short rundown:
- Tell your supervisor immediately.
- Call the Workplace Injury & First Notice of Loss Call Center right after the incident occurred, and talk to a registered nurse.
- If the nurse says you need to seek medical treatment, go seek treatment.
- When you are at the doctor’s office, make sure to tell the doctor you were hurt at work, and that you will be filing a claim with the State.
- If you are given a prescription, make sure the pharmacist knows it is related to a worksite injury or illness.
- Do not give your health insurance to the doctor.
If you sustained property damage – like you might if you were injured in a car crash while in the course of your duties – you can submit a claim for damages as well. That form can be accessed here, but an attorney from our firm can help you fill it in correctly, to ensure that every “i” is dotted and every “t” is crossed.
As you can see, the process in place for State employees is very similar to the standard workers’ compensation filing process: tell your boss, see a doctor, file the paperwork. Just like with a non-State employee claim, you’ll be asked to see specific doctors and undergo specific tests, which need to be reported back.
The main difference is this: the providers and services used by the State are different than those used by private employees. As such, we need to follow the State’s rules to the letter, or you risk being denied compensation.
How long will it take to get my benefits after I’m injured?
Under TN Code § 9-8-402 (2017), you must make your claim within one year of the accident which resulted in your injury. The Division of Claims Administration has 90 days from that notice to investigate your claim, and then either approve or deny it.
If it is approved, you’ll get your settlement within one year, though most people get their money much more quickly. If it is denied, you have 90 days to file a claim with the claims commission.
However, “If the Division of Claims Administration does not approve or deny the claim within that time period, then the jurisdiction of the claim automatically transfers to the Tennessee Claims Commission. If this occurs, the Division of Claims Administration will notify you of the transfer,” per the TN Treasury Department. Any denied claim for more than $25,000 will also be transferred.
The process of filing for benefits is complicated; you want an experienced work injury lawyer on your side. Wagner & Wagner can help. If your claim has been denied, call us as soon as you can to set up your appointment. If you are a government contractor, contact us about helping you file a claim through different channels.
Protecting the rights of injured government employees
Wagner & Wagner Attorneys at Law respects the work of state workers, and understands the difficulties of filing a claim after an injury. We are familiar with the process of bringing a claim against the government, and can help you avoid the common pitfalls when filing that claim. For a free initial consultation with one of our Chattanooga worksite injury attorneys, please call 423-756-7923 or fill out our contact form. We serve clients in North Georgia, Cleveland, TN, Chattanooga and all surrounding counties.