How TN Workers’ Compensation Changes Could Affect You

by mdp | March 15th, 2013

crutches_thumbA workers’ compensation overhaul, proposed by Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam more than a year ago, is now on the legislative fast track, and it is extremely important for TN workers to understand how potential changes could affect them and their families. While those in support of the workers’ compensation bill claim that it will help revamp a system they believe to be complicated and inefficient, opponents of the measure argue that it will actually cut benefits to injured workers, jeopardize workplace safety and remove workers’ comp cases from the impartial court system in favor of an administrative system. If you have suffered injuries in a workplace accident in Tennessee, contact our knowledgeable workers’ comp lawyers at Michael D. Ponce & Associates today to discuss your legal options.

Changes to TN Workers’ Compensation Laws

Similar to workers’ compensation changes being considered in Oklahoma, the biggest change imposed by the bill would be to funnel all injured workers’ claims through an administrative process handled by a new state agency, effectively removing all court oversight. Supporters of the proposed measure – mostly Republicans and business interests – claim that the overhaul will make the workers’ comp system more fair, predictable and cost-efficient. Those against the bill – mostly labor advocates and workers’ compensation lawyers – argue that the changes would only help employers and their insurance companies by reducing workers’ benefits. The workers’ comp measure was quickly passed by a pair of committees earlier this week and is expected to be swiftly approved in the Republican-controlled legislature, despite opponents claiming that the bill is being rushed through with little debate.

Is the Proposed Workers’ Comp Bill Fair?

Serious concerns have been raised regarding the fairness of an administrative workers’ compensation system, by those who see the proposed bill as a danger to injured workers in Tennessee. “For once I’d like to see this General Assembly do something for employees, do something for citizens (other than) take from them and gut them,” said Rep. Joe Towns Jr. (D-Memphis) in response to the proposed workers’ comp measure. Opponents of the workers’ compensation overhaul claim that the proposed bill takes unfair advantage of workers in Tennessee by trying to minimize care and reduce payouts in an effort to save companies money. “You try to be fair. You’re not greedy,” said a worker who lost his hand in a workplace injury. “Nothing can replace what you’ve lost but they always want to start at the bottom and low ball you, and they’re really not wanting to give you a whole lot to start with.”

Contact Our Attorneys Today for Legal Help

The workers’ compensation system in Tennessee was established as a means of protecting the rights of injured workers and their families, by providing critical medical and disability benefits. However, with the changes proposed by Governor Haslam, these rights may be compromised in favor of employers and their insurance companies. If you have been injured in an on-the-job accident in Nashville or elsewhere in Tennessee, and you think you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits, consult our reputable attorneys at Michael D. Ponce & Associates as soon as possible. Our workers’ comp lawyers have extensive experience protecting the legal rights of injured workers throughout the state, and will work diligently to help you pursue the benefits you deserve for your injuries.How TN Workers’ Compensation Changes Could Affect You