The General Assembly passed a workers compensation reform bill that will have vast implications for workers in Tennessee. The bill, which applies to injuries on or after July 1, 2011, narrows the definition of "injury" by requiring it be caused by a specific incident or set of incidents arising out of and in the course of employment identifiable by time and place of occurrence. Also, the opinion of the panel physician on causation is presumed correct, but may be rebutted by a preponderance of the evidence.
"Injury" does not cover diseases except when the disease arises out employment. Cumulative trauma conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome and hearing loss are not included and are not covered unless the conditions arose primarily out of and in the course and scope of employment.
Also, parties can now close out the right to future medical treatment on all cases except permanent and total disability claims.
Lastly, the bill ostensibly allows ex parte communication between insurers (and their legal representatives) with treating physicians as long as the employee or his/her attorney is notified within 10 days of a deposition of the content of the communications. This change is in response to the Overstreet case.
If you need more information about a personal injury matter (car wreck, boating accident, slip and fall, etc.), Social Security Disability/SSI matter, or a workers compensation matter, please contact the Law Offices of Tony Farmer and John Dreiser for a free case evaluation. We can be reached at (865) 584-1211 or (800) 806-4611 or by e-mail at John@farmerdreiser.com or through our website at www.farmerdreiser.com.