Bad Decisions By Tennessee Workers Comp Judges
In Tennessee Workers Comp system the Workers Comp judges made a few questionable decisions. A recent decision by a Tennessee Circuit Court judge may cause a landslide of permanent total disability cases. This is the second horrible court ruling I have seen in the last three weeks. This decision comes right after Tennessee has made makes great strides in controlling their medical costs.
A General Motors employee is entitled to greater benefits than typically allowed because of the automaker’s restructuring under bankruptcy reorganization. The injured employee should have received eight years of workers compensation benefits at a maximum. The cap applies if the employee returns to work for the company where he or she was injured. The cap can be lifted, however, if the employee loses his or her job or the company changes ownership.
According to an article in Business Insurance – a Marshall County, Tenn., Circuit Court judge agreed with the workers comp claimant, essentially ruling that the cap should be lifted because GM filed for bankruptcy and formed a new company called General Motors Co. and known as the New GM. The case is expected to go to trial in January, but GM’s attorneys have told him they plan to appeal the decision lifting the cap. Friday’s ruling could affect hundreds of worker injury cases.
If this case is allowed to stand, there would be a breakdown in the way that premiums were charged to employers in the normal insurance market. Often, I take the opposite view of the insurance carriers. This is one time that I can understand their concern. Workers Compensation policies were not charged for these extra long benefit payouts.
How does the insurance market respond to these unjustified adverse decisions for which they were not allowed to charged premiums? They will either increase their rates or quit writing business in the state of Tennessee. This will cause the market to harden and all of the medical costs controls in place will be nullified. I, the employers, and insurance carriers hope this will all be corrected on appeal.
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