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What is the responsibility of injured Tennessee workers?

A July post covered the responsibilities of Tennessee employers when an employee is injured. This week's post will cover the responsibilities of injured Tennessee employees and the rights that are endowed to them by law. Having a clear understanding of these may help claimants find relief more efficiently.

The first responsibility of an injured worker is to report the injury in a timely manner. Timely in the state of Tennessee translates to within 30 days of the injury. The law includes weekends in the 30 day calculator. As soon as an employee knows or reasonably suspects that he or she has been injured at work, a supervisor should be contacted. It is important to note that employers are prohibited from terminating an employee for reporting an injury. Any employee who is terminated after reporting an injury should seek legal counsel for a possible claim.

Employees must seek medical treatment. Any fees related to the treatment of a compensable workplace injury should be covered by the employer. If there is an emergency situation, the employee's supervisor should make proper provisions for immediate medical care. For non-emergency injuries, a list of physicians should be supplied to the employee so that he or she can seek appropriate care.

The purpose of workers' compensation benefits is to help workers to return to health and work in a timely manner. In order to accomplish this goal, an employee may be placed on work restrictions. An employee's ability to work is determined by both the treating physician and the supervisor. Any work provided within reasonable work restriction parameters should be followed by the employee.

Source: Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development, "Employee Responsibilities," last visited August 10, 2015

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