Workers' Compensation Procedure

As with any case, many questions may arise when dealing with substantive or procedural issues. We have addressed below several of the issues that frequently arise in a Workers’ Compensation case.

LEGAL FEES

The fees received by an attorney in Tennessee workers' compensation cases are fixed by law. These fees cannot exceed twenty percent (20%) of the amount of recovered compensation. Our Chattanooga law firm takes no fee on compensation for undisputed medical expenses or for undisputed periods of temporary total disability. In cases involving total permanent disability or death, the law imposes limits on lawyers’ fees. We absolutely comply with those limits wherever applicable. Incidental out-of-pocket litigation expenses are typically involved in a workers' compensation claim. These fees often can total thousands of dollars. Our law firm usually advances these necessary costs right up to the time the case is concluded, these costs are then reimbursed out of any recovery.

THIRD PARTY CLAIMS

If you are injured while operating a vehicle, in a factory, or working on a construction site, you could be entitled to benefits provided by Tennessee Workers’ Compensation. If an on the job injury was caused due to the negligence of any outside third party (not your co-employee or employer) you could be entitled under Tennessee Personal Injury Laws to file a Third Party Lawsuit. For example, if you were hit by another vehicle while operating a vehicle as part of your employment, you could also have a claim against the party who caused the accident.

A Third Party case could also occur if the use of defective tools or equipment caused the injury. The Higgins Firm can help you file a case against the manufacturer of the defective tool or equipment. Frequently, monetary damages to an injured worker in a Third Party case are greater than a settlement from Workers’ Compensation.

WHAT STATE LAW APPLIES?

Often it can be confusing as to which states’ law applies in workers’ compensation cases. This can be very important because all states’ work comp laws are different. Some states provide more benefits for the employee than the Tennessee act and some provide less. This issue arises most frequently with people whose job requires travel. Most often we see it with construction workers, truck drivers, and employees in sales. To determine which states’ laws apply, it is imperative to know where the employee resides, where the employer resides, where the injury occurred and where the contract for hire occurred. Usually, we are able to determine which states’ laws are applicable once these questions are answered. The Higgins Firm has clients from all over the country who have compensation claims in Tennessee. When that happens everything is coordinated from Tennessee, making the process as easy as is possible for the client. Technology allows keep us in contact with our clients just as if they were down the block.

WHEN CAN A CASE BE REOPENED?

For the majority of workmen's compensation injuries, the amount of compensation you are entitled to receive will be limited should you return to work at the same rate of pay at the same employer. However, if later you lose your job through no fault of your own, you often are able to reopen your case for more compensation. For example, if company cutbacks cause you to be laid off, you should be entitled to have your case reopened. Also, our Chattanooga law firm frequently sees workers attempt to return to work only later to realize they are physically unable to perform anymore. If you have lost your job after a compensation settlement, please feel free to contact our office to determine if you are entitled to seek additional compensation under the Tennessee Workers’ Compensation laws.

It is important to note that the time frame on being allowed to re-open a claim can very greatly depending on when you were hurt and what type of injury you sustained.  As such, if you believe you may be entitled to a reconsideration of your workers compensation claim you should contact one of our attorneys immediately.