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.
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.
Every workplace in America comes with its own unique array of risks, pitfalls, obstacles, and perils. Whether it be in a Tennessee mine, a California school, or an Illinois office space, the places in which we go to work each day are never completely secure, and accidents are inevitable occurrences in virtually every industry and workplace.