S.B. 200 moves the court-based adjudicatory system to an administrative-based one. The American Insurance Association applauded the signing of the bill.
"An administrative system that provides for streamlined dispute resolution is far more compatible with the no-fault nature of workers' compensation than the cumbersome tort system," said Ron Jackson, AIA's southeast region vice president. "Prior to the enactment of S.B. 200, Tennessee was one of the last states to have a court-based claims adjudication process."
Oklahoma also had a court-based system before legislation was passed that removed it from the list.
The Tennessee legislation also authorizes the adoption of medical treatment guidelines and changes the method for calculating permanent partial disability benefits. Most of the provisions take effect July 1, 2014.
Opponents of the legislation are hoping the legislature changes provisions of the bill in the next session. Among their objections is the removal of a provision that mandates settlement of claims be remedial in nature.
"The remedial nature of the Law has been generally interpreted by courts to require a liberal construction of the Law in favor of injured workers," according to a summary on the Tennessee General Assembly website. "This amendment replaces the remedial nature of the Law by applying a requirement that the Law be construed fairly, impartially and in accordance with basic principles of statutory construction without favor to either employee or employer."
Read more at the WorkersComp Forum homepage.
May 21, 2013
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