If you are injured, notify your employer immediately and preferably in writing. Tennessee law requires you to give notice within thirty (30) days of the date you are injured, although strict adherence to this deadline may be waived under certain circumstances.
Most employers post a form notice in the workplace that lists the name and contact information for the company representative you are to notify in the event of a work injury.
Normally your employer will fill out a Form C-20 to report your accident. You should ask your employer to designate a panel
of physicians from which you can choose to receive medical care. In most instances, the employer will offer a panel of doctors and put that offer in writing through a Department of Labor in the form of an Agreement Between Employer/Employee Choice of Physician Form (Form C-42).
Once you have a panel of physicians from your employer, you are free to select one of these doctors and contact the doctor’s office to schedule an appointment. If your employer fails or refuses to provide you with medical care, the Department of Labor is empowered to order your employer to provide medical care through the filing of a Request for Assistance.
You should know that, although the Department of Labor through its workers compensation specialists are authorized to assist you in obtaining medical care, they should not give your legal advice and are prohibited from doing so. In fact, most specialists are not licensed attorneys and don’t necessarily have a deep knowledge of legal principles, laws and procedures beyond the rules and regulations of the Department of Labor.
You should also know that, just because your employer designates a panel of doctors, you select a doctor from that panel
and you get medical treatment from the panel doctor, you are not necessarily bound by the opinion(s) and plan of treatment recommended by the company doctor.
While you may not be able to force your employer to pay for the services of a doctor of your choosing, you are free to see any doctor you like. If you can prove by the greater weight of the medical evidence that you have a problem or condition that is not being addressed or properly treated by the company doctor, a judge hearing your case or the Department of Labor has the ability to order your employer to provide medical care to address the problem or pay for the services already rendered.
If you need help obtaining medical care when you have been injured on the job, contact our office today. You’ll be glad you did.