Tennessee’s New Workers’ Comp Law

Tennessee’s workers’ compensation system saw a major revamp during the 2013 legislative session. Gov. Bill Haslam made workers’ compensation changes his number one priority. The headline change for both the bar and the public was the switch of management of disputed claims from the court system to a set of administrative tribunals.

The bill, which Gov. Haslam signed into law in May, creates a strong administrator responsible for much of the rulemaking and many of the decisions in this process. The legislation clearly placed the welfare of the injured workers on the executive branch.

Hidden in the 120-page bill are many changes of the policies that the accompanying article brings to light. The system now will be speedier in paying claimants. It does so by narrowing restricting discretion to fashion individualized remedies. Long-term disability now plays a lesser role.

To learn more about the sweeping changes to the Tennessee workers’ comp law, Public Chapter 289, attend the statutory review session Friday afternoon, June 14, at the TBA Annual Meeting in Nashville. The seminar will delve more in-depth into the new law, which takes effect July 1, 2014.

— Allan F. Ramsaur