I am a saleswoman for a office products company. I was driving from one customer’s place of business to see another customer when I was in car wreck. The other driver ran into me at 45 miles per hour as I was stopped in traffic. My car was totaled and I spent three days in the hospital. What are my rights?
You have two potential claims. First, you have a worker’s compensation claim because you were injured in the course of employment (assuming your employer has five or more employees). Under Tennessee worker’s compensation law, you have a right to have your medical bills paid and to receive a portion of your wages paid while you are unable to work. If you have a permanent impairment as a result of your injuries you are entitled to a payment for the extent of disability caused by that impairment.
Second, you have a claim against the driver of the other car. This is called a "tort" claim.
Since your injuries were serious enough to require hospitalization, you almost certainly could benefit from the assistance of an experienced personal injury lawyer. This lawyer will be able to help you receive the benefits you are entitled to receive under the worker’s compensation law and under tort law.
To preserve your worker’s compensation claim rights be sure that your employer has notice that you were in the car wreck. It is best to give notice in writing. If the tort claim is not settled, a lawsuit must be filed within one year of the date of the wreck or your rights with be lost. The time period for filing a worker’s compensation claim is dependent on your medical treatment – an experienced Tennessee worker’s compensation lawyer can advise you of when you must act to protect your rights after he or she has been advised of your treatment course.
You need to know that your employer’s worker’s compensation insurer will have a right to recover the money it pays in worker’s compensation benefits from any monies you receive in your auto accident case. Once again, an experienced Tennessee auto accident lawyer can explain this to you.
John Day represents personal injury victims and families of wrongful death victims. He is board-certified as a civil trial specialist by the National Board of Trial Advocacy and, in fact, served as President of the organization. He is an elected member of the prestigious American College of Trial Lawyers. His book, "Day on Torts: Leading Cases in Tennessee Tort Law," is used by judges and lawyers across Tennessee to further their understanding of personal injury and wrongful death law in Tennessee. In 2009, Best Lawyers named John "Best Personal Injury Lawyer" for Nashville; he was the first recipient of that award. Best Lawyers also named John as "Best Medical Malpractice Lawyer in Nashville" for 2010. John does not charge for an initial consultation and accepts personal injury and wrongful death cases on a contingent fee basis. You can reach him by telephone at 615.742.4880 or by email by clicking here.