Texas Governor Bill Haslam has just signed a measure that significantly changes the way the state handles workers’ compensation claims. The legislation, known as the Workers’ Comp Reform Act of 2013, is designed to lower workers’ comp rates across Tennessee, but those opposed to the bill fear that these changes will actually be a detriment to injured workers throughout the state. If you have suffered injuries on the job in Tennessee, contact our TN workers’ compensation attorneys at Michael D. Ponce & Associates today. The recently approved workers’ comp reform in Tennessee could mean big changes for injured workers in the state. With our lawyers on your side, you can protect your legal rights and pursue the workers’ compensation benefits you deserve for your injuries.
Understanding Tennessee’s Workers’ Comp Reform
A major feature of the legislation is that it removes workers’ compensation cases from state trial courts and instead establishes special panels appointed by the governor to hear claims and appeals from injured workers. Supporters of the measure claim that the new administrative workers’ compensation system will “speed up services to injured workers, enabling them to return to work quicker after their injury, and reduce litigation resulting in greater uniformity of awards made across the state.” However, opponents of the bill claim that the high cost of health care is the real reason Tennessee’s workers’ compensation costs continue to rise, and the new legislation does not address these medical costs. Another concern is the workers’ comp program’s oversight by the Department of Labor and Workforce Develop, which is already struggling to handle one of its core functions – distributing unemployment benefits.
Consult Our Workers’ Comp Attorneys Today
As Democratic Leader Rep. Craig Fitzhugh put it, “people think it’s going to be reform, but it’s really not. I’m afraid we’ll see it in a year or two and have to do something else with it. I don’t think this is going to turn out to be something very positive.” Others agree, citing the governor’s decision to place the new workers’ compensation office under the troubled Department of Labor and Workforce Development as a major concern. If you have been injured in a workplace accident in Tennessee, it’s important to understand how these workers’ compensation changes could affect you and your family. A serious on-the-job accident can result in a significant physical and financial burden for injured workers and their loved ones; contact our knowledgeable lawyers at Michael D. Ponce & Associates to discuss your eligibility for critical workers’ compensation benefits in Tennessee.