Common Questions About Workers' Compensation

CAN I BE FIRED OR DISMISSED FOR BEING INJURED AT WORK?

Technically, it is illegal in Tennessee and all other states for an employer to fire an employee solely because he or she was injured on the job. However, it is relatively easy for employers to get around this restriction by finding another excuse to dismiss an injured worker. Almost every state, including Tennessee, operates under the principle of "at will" employment, meaning that your employer can fire you for any reason or for no reason at any time with very few exceptions. Nonetheless, there is some chance you may have a case for wrongful termination if you can prove that:

  • Your termination was the result of age, gender, racial, or another type of illegal discrimination
  • You were terminated specifically and solely for getting injured
  • Your employer violated its own policies and procedures in firing you
  • Your employer falsely claimed that no light/modified duty work was available
  • Your employment contract or union CBA prohibited your termination

In any case, your employer should still fulfill its obligation to cover the costs of treating your injury under Tennessee Workers’ Compensation law. If your employer is reneging on its Workers’ Comp obligations or you believe you may have a case for wrongful termination, the Workers' Compensation attorneys of Wagner & Wagner in Chattanooga will defend your rights and explain your legal options.

WHAT DOES THE NEW LAW ON WORKERS’ COMPENSATION IN TENNESSEE MEAN FOR SUBCONTRACTORS?

Tennessee lawmakers recently passed changes to the law governing Workers' Compensation for subcontractors. Under the old system, subcontractors were legally obligated to purchase Workers’ Comp insurance for their employees, but were not covered themselves. When subcontractors got injured, they would file a Workers’ Compensation claim and argued that they were unaware that they were not covered. In various Workers’ Compensation lawsuits involving subcontractors, Tennessee judges ordered the general contractor to pay, essentially just moving up the ladder until finding someone with Workers’ Compensation insurance.

In 2008, the Tennessee legislature changed this system, requiring subcontractors to purchase Workers’ Compensation insurance for themselves by 2010. However, many subcontractors could not afford expensive insurance policies, so lawmakers created an exemption. Subcontractors may now opt out of the Workers’ Compensation system and apply for the exemption online at a new website set up by the Tennessee Secretary of State. The exemption will take effect March 1, 2011. If you believe this new law may affect your claim for Workers’ Compensation benefits, the attorneys of Wagner & Wagner can help you recover the benefits you deserve.

If you have been injured on the job, don’t wait for problems to arise before getting in touch with an experienced Workers’ Compensation lawyer. Please contact the law firm of Wagner & Wagner today for a free consultation to discuss your legal options