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Effects of Tennessee Workers Compensation Reform

Tuesday, September 24th, 2013 | Uncategorized | No Comments

The Tennessee Workers Compensation Reform Act will take effect on July 1, 2014. Tennessee is currently one of only 2 states adjudicating workers comp lawsuits in the court system. One of the most significant aspects in the Reform Act is that claim disputes will no longer be handled in our court system.

A new “Court of Workers’ Compensation Claims” is being established. Tennessee will have a Workers Compensation Division within the TN Department of Labor and Workforce Development. Workers Compensation claim disputes will be handled by this new administrative entity rather than in the trial courts.

A new “Ombudsman Program” is also mandated under the Reform Act in order to provide employee assistance, education and mediation of claims-related disputes for workers without an attorney.

The Reform Act also includes key changes in HOW Workplace Injuries are Defined. Essentially, there is a higher burden to prove that a worker’s injury was sustained on the job.

The Reform Act is intended to simplify and expedite the workers compensation claims process while establishing more clear rules and regulations. Injured workers may realize lower benefits and will face a completely new method of recourse. Employers will need to be aware of new requirements and penalties. It will take time to see any impact on the rates themselves.

Please see the Tennessee Workers’ Compensation Division’s 2013 Reform Legislation Overview for more detailed information.

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