In 2004 the Tennessee Workers Compensation act was reformed. The bulk of the reform was to lower the benefits paid to workers when they are permenantly injured. Like so many political intitiatives the public was lead to believe that peolpe were getting rich for insignificant injuries.
I have represented workers through Tennessee with regard to on the job injuries.
Under the workmans compensation act it is common for employees to receive a fraction of what they lost in wages because of life changing injuries. However, these clients never had their stories published in the news or broadcast on television. In fact, the only time my cases are picked up by the news are when we successfully obtain a large verdict. I am afraid the public will never read an article describing the modest amount of money a person receives for loosing a limb at work. In fact, in Tennesse if your arm is completely amputed you get a portion of your average pay for 200 weeks.
In addition to reducing the awards for injuries the reform act also restricted an employees access to the courts. Employees cases can take longer. They can lose the right to appeal to the court for denied benefits for significant periods of time. I admit that the Tennessee Comp system was far from perfect before the “reform” but removing benefits from our workers was certainly a step in the wrong direction.