In my four years of representing hard working folks from Clarksville to Nashville, Franklin to Spring Hill in workers' compensation claims when they get injured on the job. The most common thing I hear in my first meeting with clients is, "I was going to pursue this earlier, but I was afraid I would lose my job."
In Tennessee, if you have been hurt at work, you need to hire an injury attorney who knows workers' compensation system. You should file your Tennessee workers' compensation claim as soon as possible.
Filing a workers' compensation claim is no different than filing for short term disability or using your health insurance. When they are all provided by your employer, it's still just an insurance claim with your employer. In most cases, we cannot even file a lawsuit until you heal from the injury.
Workers' compensation claims usually include lifetime medical care....for free, as long as the treatment is related to your work injury. The doctor may tell you that you don't need surgery now, but you may later. If you have not protected your rights, you will not be able to get this treatment, even after you retire. That is why it is so important to pursue your claim in the beginning.
There is a state law in Tennessee that creates makes it illegal to fire an injured worker as a direct result of his filing a workers' compensation claim. That doesn't mean it won't happen. It can. And if it does, I will hold your employer responsible.
Tennessee is an "at will" employment state. That means a worker can be fired for "good reason, bad reason or no reason at all." But, there are some protections, for example, age, race, religion, etc.