Tennessee governor to consider bill to replace court-based system
The legislature passed and sent the governor a proposal to revamp the system.
H.B. 194, The Workers' Compensation Reform Act, would replace the current system with an administrative process. Gov. Bill Haslam has advocated for the change.
Tennessee is one of only a handful of states that adjudicate workers' comp claims in the trial courts. "This often delays benefits to workers and produces inconsistent results," according to a statement on the governor's website. "The current process for determining benefits is cumbersome, unpredictable and time-consuming, and employees often are unable to receive benefits and return to work in a timely manner."
In the statement, the governor made the following endorsements for the workers' comp system:
- Allow employees to file their claims in a newly created Court of Workers' Compensation Claims within the Division of Workers' Compensation in the Department of Labor and Workforce Development.
- Create an Ombudsman program within the division to help employees and employers who are unrepresented get the assistance they need.
- Provide for a neutral construction of the workers' compensation law so that neither side has an unfair advantage.
- Provide a clearer standard for causation that requires that the injury arose primarily out of employment rather than nonwork-related activities.
The governor is expected to sign the legislation.
Read more at the WorkersComp Forum homepage.
May 6, 2013
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