When a Tennessee worker is injured on the job, the employee typically files a claim with the employer's insurance company. The insurance company then pays benefits, per an approved formula. It is the employer's responsibility to carry workers' compensation insurance and, unless the employer is within certain exempt, limited categories, the employer may be subject to criminal prosecution, including fines and civil liability, if it does not carry this type of required insurance.
There may be situations in which an employee may sue his or her employer instead of receiving these benefits. However, workers' compensation is typically considered the sole remedy for injuries incurred at the workplace. That is why, when an employer fails to provide this type of insurance coverage, the employer may be exposed to steep and severe sanctions.
Employers have a duty to their employees not to retaliate. Some may seem to frown on those employees who choose to file claims for workers' compensation benefits and some may even blatantly discriminate against those employees. However, discrimination, harassment or the unjust termination of an injured employee who is exercising his or her rights per workers' compensation laws is prohibited. If this occurs, some employees may choose to bring civil actions against their employers for what is known as "retaliatory discharge."
A workers' compensation claim involves several parties and may sometimes get very confusing for those who are not attorneys. When a Tennessee employee believes his or her employer is not performing its due diligence in regards to its responsibilities for workers' compensation, that individual is fully within his or her rights to protect his or her rights via a legal action. Injured employees in these situations typically choose to have workers' comp attorneys assess their legal options.
Source: FindLaw, "Workers' Comp: Employers' Responsibilities", Accessed on May 28, 2016