Q: What do I do about a company that is refusing to let me off with a doctor statement I was injured on the job
I work for praxis in Savannah Tennessee I got hurt on the job with a chemical that got in my eye. I went to there doctor they really didn’t tell me what was going on other than you will b fine. I went to the Er and the doctor at the Er put me off for the rest of the week. I gave the company the doctor note they stated they will not honor the doctor note because I went to the Er without there approval. I didn’t claim anything under workman’s comp I used my own insurance. They told me that I am fine and that I need to return back to work even against doctor orders.
A: There seem to be a few options. First, I would look at the workers' compensation law angle. Generally speaking, pursuant to T.C.A. Section 50-6-204, you have thirty (30) days to turn in a workers' compensation injury to your employer. If the thirty (30) days have not passed, then turn in written notice to both your supervisor and human resources. Then, they are obligated to give you a panel of three (3) physicians to choose a physician from for treatment. The company or their insurer has to pay for all your medical treatment. If you are taken completely off from work, then you are entitled to Temporary Total Disability (TTD). This is 66 2/3 % of your Average Weekly Wage. Your Average Weekly Wage (AWW) is calculated by taking the last fifty-two (52) weeks of work wages and dividing by 52. If you worked less than 52 weeks, then the Court of Workers' Compensation or the Bureau of Workers' compensation will use the lower amount of weeks to make the calculation. If the weeks are very low, usually under thirteen (13) weeks, then they may use a similarly situated employee's wages to make the calculation. If it has been over thirty (30) days since the injury, then you still may have a shot under what has been known in case law as the "discovery rule." In essence, that states that you have thirty (30) days from discovery that your injury was related to work to turn it in. That would have been the date when your doctor told you that your injury was related to work. Workers' Compensation would be your best avenue, because the company pays your medical bills, and you can get a settlement based on your permanent impairment rating when you reach what is known as Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI). That is when your injury is at a point where it is going to get no better or worse.
If you can't meet that statutory deadlines for workers' compensation, then you should obtain FMLA forms and have your doctor complete a statement that you are entitled to be off work for Family Medical Leave. The employer has to honor this, however you will get no compensation while you are off from work, and either you or your insurance provider will have to pay for the treatment.
In either case, given what you have said, I would recommend obtaining an attorney. Your case is a little more complicated than the normal one. A workers' compensation attorney is entitled to up to 20% of your recovery. Under Family Medical Leave, the attorney will probably take a percentage of damages up to 33 1/3 %. You can also first call the Bureau of Workers' Compensation in Nashville for an explanation of your rights.
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