A new state law expanding business owner eligibility to claim exemptions from workers’ compensation took effect this month.
According to a press release issued by Secretary of State Tre Hargett’s office, the new law allows business owners in the construction services industry to opt out of the requirement to cover themselves with workers’ compensation insurance if they meet certain ownership requirements.
An applicant must be an individual who is sole proprietor of the business and owns 100% of its assets, an officer of a corporation, a member of a limited liability company with an ownership interest of at least 20%, or a partner in a partnership. In addition, an applicant may qualify for the exemption if the applicant and members of his or her family hold at least 95% ownership of the business.
“I am sure there are a number of business owners who will take advantage of the expanded eligibility for exemptions that was created by the new law,” Hargett said, “We look forward to serving them.”
According to a Bureau of Labor Statistics report issued in June 2011, private industry employers spend an average of $28.13 per hour worked on employee compensation, including pay and benefits. Of that total, 29.6% goes toward benefits like workers’ compensation. This new law allows construction industry employers to cut workers’ comp insurance costs that may be unnecessary.
For business owners– especially small business owners– in the construction industry, this legislative change is great news. For employees who suffer work-related injuries or illnesses, however, workers’ compensation remains a complex issue.
Employees injured on the job or harmed by occupational diseases are entitled to benefits no matter who was at fault. But such benefits often come at the cost of forfeiting the right to sue the employer for negligence or wrongful conduct.
Because employees lack the right to sue employers for work injuries, one would expect employers to pay benefits whenever workers are hurt while performing their job duties. Unfortunately, employers and their insurers may place significant legal obstacles between injured workers and the compensation they need for medical expenses, lost wages, and permanent impairment.
To make sure you are protected under the Tennessee workers’ compensation benefits required by law, report all work accidents to your employer immediately, no matter how small the injury may appear.
An injured worker must file Form C40B, “Request for Benefit Review Conference,” before the time limit runs out. Generally, that is one year from the date of injury, or the date the employer last paid temporary disability or medical bills.
To make sure your case is managed properly, it is advisable to secure a workers’ compensation lawyer with extensive knowledge of complex Tennessee workers’ comp laws. The Insiders of the McMahan Law Firm have been helping Chattanooga workers obtain the compensation they need since 1995. If you are struggling with a workers’ compensation claim due to a work injury or job-related illness, The Insiders want to hear from you.
Don’t wait! The right to receive workers’ compensation does not stay open forever. Contact the McMahan Law Firm today. Call 1-800-779-5822 or click here for free legal advice.