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April 2013 Archives

The zombies made me do it: an unusual accident case

Zombie attacks may not be a common excuse offered to police in Tennessee, but after a multi-car accident in California, it was the excuse law enforcement received from the young man who caused the accident. The driver, who may have been operating a stolen big rig under the influence of some sort of hallucinogenic drug, told police that zombies were the cause of his collisions with other vehicles on a California freeway. The police didn't buy his excuse, and the suspect is now facing multiple charges in connection with the truck accident.The young man, who had hitched a ride with a professional truck driver who was transporting strawberries cross-country, apparently stole the truck after the driver exited the vehicle during an inspection. The 19-year-old drove the vehicle wildly in an attempt to shake off the zombies he later claimed were clinging to the vehicle. During these bizarre maneuvers, the suspect rammed into several vehicles, causing severe injury to some of their occupants.

Workers' comp bill moves forward in spite of opposition

In spite of attempted changes to a new Tennessee workers' comp bill that would overhaul the way the state's workers' comp system runs, the House Finance, Ways and Means Committee has moved the bill forward. The new law would change the rules for determining what types of injuries are eligible for workers' comp, and it would also take benefits disputes for a workplace injury out of the courtroom and put a new division in charge of them. Those who support the bill believe that changes to the current law will make workers' compensation claims more predictable and also lower overall costs related to the program. The new system would also create an ombudsman program that would help workers understand the processes involved in claims. On the other hand, opponents of the bill believe that a majority of the changes to the current system will end up harming workers in the state.

Proposed legislation may slash benefits for injured workers

A new piece of legislation may drastically alter the way in which workers' compensation claims are processed in Tennessee. The proposed reform, however, which would subject claims related to a workplace accident to the discretion of an ombudsman rather than the current exhaustive process, has also stirred up considerable controversy.Presently, workers' compensation claims undergo a complex review process involving the court system as well as extensive pre-court administrative procedures that include a review process for potential benefits. Once a claim goes before the court, it is subject to review by one of hundreds of judges, but few claims actually require a trial, according to a Murfreesboro city council member who is also an attorney. The new legislation would remove the court entirely from the equation, and claims would be put before one of a small number of administrative law judges appointed specifically for the task of reviewing such claims, provided that the claim is approved in the first place by the ombudsman who processes it directly from the employee.

ATA challenges HOS rules in appeals court

The American Trucking Associations recently put forth an argument in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. The ATA is requesting the three-judge panel reverse the new regulations set forth by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration in 2011, which were implemented in an attempt to curb truck driver fatigue. The new regulations are set to go into effect on July 1.The ATA posits that the changes the FMCSA put into place were baseless and were done with an agenda in mind. The ATA also charges that the new regulations would seriously impact drivers' ability to effectively coordinate their schedules.

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