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Will new bill affect workers' compensation claims in Tennessee?

Tennessee workers in all industries likely know the dangers of workplace injuries. Often, serious injuries are attributed to construction workers, contractors and individuals who work with large machinery. One industry that is often forgotten in the realm of workers' compensation is nursing. One report, however, indicates that nurses may begin to see more protections soon against violent injuries on-the-job.

 

According to a recent report, violence against nurses on-the-job is a serious concern. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, between 2003 and 2009, there were 2,050 assaults on healthcare workers, and eight fatalities in the United States. One nurse that told her story in a recent report speaks of being stabbed multiple times with an ink pen as her patient tried to apparently kill her. Another nurse sustained a concussion and nerve damage after a patient assaulted him.

Now, Tennessee lawmakers are hoping to provide protections for healthcare workers that operate similarly to those for police officers. For example, anyone convicted of assaulting a healthcare worker could be liable for a $5,000 fine. The new bill is slated to take effect on July 1. The new law will not apply to patients who cannot maliciously attack the healthcare worker, such as those with Alzheimer's or mental incapacitation.

 

Because the risk of injury to healthcare workers is so great, these new legal protections could provide healthcare workers with a greater sense of confidence on-the-job. All Tennessee workers deserve to be safe at their place of employment. When accidents or injuries do occur, ensuring that the proper guidelines for handling these matters are in place is vital. Recent reports have not indicated whether the new Tennessee law will have any impact on workers' compensation claims filed by injured healthcare professionals. As a general rule, though, any employee that is injured or becomes ill on-the-job is typically entitled to these important state-regulated insurance benefits.

 

Source: wbir.com, "Assaulting health care workers about to draw steeper fines in TN," Tom Wilemon, June 4, 2013

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