Changes in the Tennessee Workers’ Compensation Law

By Bruce E. Williams
Shuttleworth PLLC
(901) 328-8236
bwilliams@swlawpllc.com

The Tennessee Legislature has passed legislation aimed at reversing the impact of a 2007 Tennessee Supreme Court ruling that awarded death benefits to the widow of a worker who suffered a fatal heart attack while playing basketball on company property.

The new law prohibits compensation awards for an injury or death due to participation in recreational, social, athletic, or exercise activities, whether or not the employer picks up some or all of the cost.

But it would allow compensation when:

– Participation was expressly or impliedly required by the employer.
– Participation produced a direct benefit to the employer beyond improvement of its employees’ health and morale.
– Participation was during work hours and was part of the employee’s job duties.
– The injury or death was caused by an unsafe condition, known by the employer, but unwarned by the employer to others.

A summary of the bill and a history of actions are here.

The Legislature has also passed a new law governing communication by employers, insurers and attorneys with physicians in WC claims, effective for claims arising after July 1, 2009.
Read the new law here.

The articles published in this blog are for informational purposes only, and are not intended to be legal advice or a solicitation for legal services. For specific legal questions and issues, you should contact an attorney of your choice.