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How changes to workers’ comp impact claims

On Behalf of | Jan 21, 2020 | Workers' Compensation |

In 2014, Tennessee made significant changes to the state’s guidelines governing workers’ compensation. These laws changed how the courts determine causation, the standard for permanent disability and other facets of awarding disability payments.

Explore how these changes impact workers in the state.

Streamlined administration system

Injuries after July 2014 will receive a review solely at the discretion of the state Division of Workers Compensation, in contrast to the previous system that combined the agency with the local trial court. If you need to file an appeal, it will now go to the Tennessee Supreme Court. While the old system implicitly favored the employee, the more recent system impartially considers the positions of both the worker and the company.

Vocational rehabilitation

This program, the Subsequent Injury and Vocational Recovery Fund, reviews applications for assistance with job training and resources after a work-related accident. Services from this department may include the provision of vocational assessments and testing, job analysis, the costs of attending college or university at a public school in Tennessee, books and materials, GED courses, and diploma testing.

Workers may be eligible for up to $5,000 in assistance per year. The total assistance amount for each employee has a limit of $20,000.

Medical review panel

As with injuries dating prior to 2014, employers must give the employee a choice of three or more specialty practice groups, surgeons or physicians to see for the injury in question. The selected doctor becomes the authorized treating physician for his or her case. Now, however, employers have expanded access to the medical records from that provider regarding the workplace injury. The company can also communicate directly with the worker’s treating physician(s).

If you experience a workplace injury or an existing injury gets worse because of your job duties, you must file a claim for workers’ compensation immediately. Tennessee employees are subject to a statute of limitation of 15 business days.