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Navigating Tennessee’s Workers’ Compensation System


Don’t Let Your Claim Get Dismissed Before It Gets Off the Ground

By Megan Geer | July 27, 2022

For those who have been injured on the job, navigating the workers’ compensation system can be confusing and even hostile. But you can improve your chances of a good outcome by hiring an attorney and having a better understanding of how the system works.

In the simplest terms, workers’ compensation is a system that provides medical care to people who have been injured on the job. It also will provide disability payments for those who are unable to work while receiving treatment. However, there are certain steps you need to take (and certain deadlines you need to meet) to receive workers’ compensation.

You’ve had the unfortunate experience of finding yourself injured on the job and facing the workers’ compensation system. Now what? For the next several posts, we are going to go through the main steps in workers’ compensation and attempt to cover various situations that can be detrimental to your claim. So don’t let your claim be dismissed before it gets off the ground.

Hiring an attorney helps ensure that you don’t fall victim to the system. Tennessee law doesn’t require you to hire an attorney to help with your workers’ compensation claim. You do, however, have this option. For many people, hiring an attorney helps resolve their case more quickly and favorably. Workers’ compensation is a highly specialized area of law. Therefore, only hire an attorney who dedicates the majority of their practice to workers’ compensation. Workers’ compensation attorneys are hired on a contingent-fee basis. The most attorneys can collect is 20% of the money awarded by the judge.

When you’ve been injured in the job, you need the right attorney by your side. The lawyers at Grimmett Law Firm have handled hundreds of workers’ compensation claims and will fight for rights and represent injured clients all across Tennessee. Call our office at (615) 933-8000 or email office@grimmettlawfirm.com to schedule a free consultation.

Who is that Strange Man Talking to the Truck Driver?

strange man talking to trucker

Imagine this…you are driving down the interstate when suddenly a trucker switches lanes on top of you knocking you out of control and into the curb.  You are dazed, confused and you don’t know what is happening until the police arrive and explain you were in an accident.  Strangely though, there is a man talking with the truck driver and telling the police what happened.  The man is wearing a suit and tie, but he is not with the police, the EMTs or anyone else.  He is an attorney for the trucking company.

It may sound like a conspiracy theory, but trucking companies actually have attorneys on-call throughout the country whose sole purpose is to go to accidents scenes and advise the tractor trailer drivers of what to say and what not to say.  These attorneys are trained professionals who tell the truckers (1) don’t admit fault; (2) don’t speak with anyone until they speak with me; and (3) always blame the other driver until we confirm otherwise.

The technology on tractor trailers has become similar to airplanes with technology on both the inside and outside.  The semis have cameras on both the outside showing traffic and inside showing what the driver was doing at the time of the accident.  They have computers tracking the mileage, coordinates, and communications between the trucker and dispatch.  Many of these trucks use a system called Qualcomm which stores these communications and sends them to the headquarters via the internet, and strangely this information disappears after it is uploaded.

When the truckers hit someone, they are trained to immediately contact dispatch and let them know about the accident.  Dispatch will then contact their on-call attorney who will go to the scene and determine the fault.  If you are approached by one of these men, do not talk to him.  He is not on your side.

Ignition Interlock Device Now Required if Arrested for DUI in Tennessee

ignition-interlock-device

You’ve probably heard of an ignition interlock device (“IID”), which is essentially a breathalyzer for your car. Thanks to a new law, this is now being required of someone that has been convicted of a DUI. In a way, it’s understandable that these individuals would be required to have one in order to drive because they’ve been proven to drive drunk in the recent past but what’s not as understandable is the concept of requiring those who’ve only been arrested for a DUI to be required to have one installed. The Tennessee legislature has now passed new laws that go into effect July 1, 2022, which will require people who have been charged (NOT convicted) of DUI to have an IID in their car if they want to continue driving while the case is pending. And must be installed in your car within 10 days of being arrested. This will become part of their bond conditions. 

What are Bond Conditions for an Interlock Device?

Bond conditions are requirements that one must comply with in order to remain out of jail while the case is pending. These conditions must be taken very seriously because if you violate you risk having your bond revoked which means sitting in jail until your case is resolved. There are two basic ways to violate this new condition: (1) you fail to have the IID installed in your car; or (2) you do something that is not in compliance with the rules of the IID (i.e., your breath sample being above a .02). 

How much will an Interlock Device cost?

The unfortunate reality is that IIDs are prone to complications and are very expensive. Far too often I’ve seen situations where the manufacturers take advantage of people by improperly calibrating the device, overcharging, and/or making removal of the device unnecessarily difficult to name a few. Furthermore, navigating the process itself is tricky. Nothing is made easy which only increases the likelihood of someone violating even when they’re only trying to do what’s required. Did I mention how expensive it is?? Installation fees will cost between $75-$225. Monthly fees are commonly $125. Removal fees will cost $75-$225. Annual fees are $12.50. And then there are miscellaneous fees that you may encounter for maintenance issues. A rough average of the time it takes from arrest to resolution on a DUI charge is approximately 9 months for defendants on bond. Using that average timeframe, it would cost $1,587.50 to stay in compliance with the IID bond condition. Keep in mind it may take much longer depending on the direction a case goes. For example, it can take years before a case ever goes to trial. 

What if I just got arrested for DUI?

If you find yourself arrested and now facing a DUI conviction, it’s in your best interest to hire a DUI attorney. This new law is going to create a lot of confusion as many details have not been clarified thus negatively affecting people simply charged with a DUI. The fact is that IIDs are already expensive and prone to creating serious problems for those convicted of DUI – but now under this new law, even more people are going to be exposed to the potentially grave consequences. Of course, there are exceptions to this requirement! To ensure this doesn’t happen to you, contact our office for a consultation today.

“WELL, IT DEPENDS”

it-depends

In order for this relationship to work – we have to be upfront with each other. So before we go straight into all the great legal posts we have planned for you, we want to begin by explaining who we are. We are lawyers licensed to practice in Tennessee who have completed 4 years of schooling at an undergraduate institution and 3 additional years at law school. Our experiences, knowledge, and skill sets make us great at what we do. Our clients matter and deserve the best legal representation. However, ask us any legal question and more often than not the first words that will come out of our mouths are, “well, it depends.” While that may sound like a completely meaningless answer… it truly is the best answer because it really does depend. It depends because the law is complex and no one situation is identical to another. A “simple answer” would be sloppy and fail to consider the many nuances that are part of your particular situation. And that’s where “well, it depends” jump-starts conversation, questions, learning, listening, and advising. All these are necessary in order to ensure our relationship thrives and you receive the best possible representation.

The intent of this blog is to provide our clients and the general public with easily accessible information about the law that affects everyday people. However, just remember, it always depends. So, while educating yourself is vital, seeking legal counsel is often in your best interest as they can address the “it depends” part. That last part is what protects you and your livelihood. You deserve answers that will prepare you.

With that being said, we appreciate you taking the time to read our blog, and hope this blog serves as a useful tool for becoming more informed about the law. We encourage you to leave comments if you have general questions and/or other topics of interest you’d like to read about.