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Employee’s Claim for Workers’ Compensation Denied

The Tennessee Supreme Court recently denied an employee’s claim for workers’ compensation after the worker sustained personal injuries while at work.

Troy Mitchell filed for a workers’ compensation claim, alleging that the company he was working with denied his workers’ compensation benefits despite the injuries he incurred from performing his job.

Mitchell worked for Fayetteville Public Utilities as a lineman and on February 5, 2009, as he and several crews were working on a power pole, he got an electrical shock of 7,200 volts as a result from him not wearing a glove while hammering a metal staple.

Mitchell sustained significant burns in both hands and half of his body.  Due to the incident, Mitchell was unable to return to his work for over a year.

On the other hand, although the Fayetteville Public Utilities admitted that Mitchell incurred his injury from work, the company attested that the injury was caused by Mitchell’s failure to follow the company’s safety rule regarding the use of protective gloves while working. Therefore, the company sees Mitchell’s failure as a reasonable cause to deny the latter’s workers’ compensation claim.

Mitchell filed his claim to the higher court upon receiving no response from the company’s management.

In his lawsuit, Mitchell was initially awarded with benefits upon seeing that the he had a reasonable cause for violating the rule. However, the court soon reversed the previous decision prior to a recent case law and an authoritative legal treatise on the subject. The court eventually ruled that the evidence presented at the trial projected that Mitchell was at fault when he violated the company’s safety rules and regulations.

Although some dissented with the said resolution, the Supreme Court still finds it decision as solid and firm, since the same was supported by a prior case law and authoritative legal treatise.

Workers’ compensation laws are designed to protect workers who incurred injuries on the job. Under the said law, injured workers are given legal rights to receive the rightful compensation for their injuries sustained.

However, mounting a claim is never easy, since employers will definitely look for ways to exempt themselves from any liabilities; therefore, workers should raise strong evidence during litigation. This is where an employment attorney, like a Los Angeles labor lawyer, can be of great help.

Posted in Unemployment Issues, Workers Compensation.

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