NWCDN Members regularly post articles and summary judgements in workers’ compensations law in your state.
Select a state from the dropdown menu below to scroll through the state specific archives for updates and opinions on various workers’ compensation laws in your state.
Contact information for NWCDN members is also located on the state specific links in the event you have additional questions or your company is seeking a workers’ compensation lawyer in your state.
The 85th Texas Legislature is in full-swing. Through 53 filed bills, the legislators have shown significant interest in tweaking the workers’ compensation system. The following is a summary of the most-relevant provisions.
Attempting to Bring Bad Faith Claims Back to Texas Comp. In Tex. Mutual Ins. Co. v. Ruttiger, the Texas Supreme Court held that claims for unfair settlement practices (bad faith claims) against workers’ comp carriers under Tex. Ins. Code §541.060 are precluded by the dispute resolution procedures and administrative remedies provided by the Workers’ Compensation Act. HB 499 would amend Tex. Ins. Code §541.060 to expressly grant workers’ comp insureds and beneficiaries a bad faith claim. –Dan Price, SLS, LLP.
No More Payment of Administrative Fine Prior to Judicial Review of TDI Violation? If DWC-TDI assesses an administrative fine for an administrative violation against a system participant, Tex. Lab. Code §415.035 requires the penalized party to pay the administrative fine (by escrow or bond) as a prerequisite to filing a petition for judicial review to challenge the finding of a violation. Failure to first pay the fine currently results in waiver of the penalized party’s legal rights to contest the violation. HB 1456 would eliminate the requirement that the fine be paid prior to challenging the alleged violation on judicial review. –Dan Price, SLS, LLP.
All Texas Contractors and Sub-Contractors May Be Required to Provide Workers’ Comp. Tex. Lab. Code § 406.096 currently applies to governmental entities and requires that contractors and sub-contractors who perform work for the entity provide workers’ comp coverage to their respective employees.HB 1477 would amend Section 406.096 to require all contractors and sub-contractors to carry workers’ comp insurance for their employees irrespective of whether the work is provided for a governmental entity. –Dan Price, SLS, LLP.
Proposed Annual Cost of Living Increases to Texas Death Benefits. HB 2054 would amend Tex. Lab. Code §408.181 (relating to Death Benefits) to provide annual adjustments to death benefits to account for inflation as calculated based on the consumer price index published by the U.S. Department of Labor and the cost of living adjustments used by the Social Security Administration. –Dan Price, SLS, LLP.
Perpetual Death Benefits to Texas Spouses Who Remarry? Yes, According to this Bill. Section 183(b) of the Texas Labor Code provides death benefits to an eligible spouse for life unless the spouse remarries. HB 2055 would amend this section to require payment of death benefits to the eligible spouse for life, “regardless of whether the spouse remarries.” –Dan Price, SLS, LLP.
Administrative Overreach? Bill Seeks to Provide Administrative Oversight to Texas Court’s Review of Division’s Decisions.In this separation of powers headscratcher, HB 2061 would expand the notice requirements contained in Section 410.253 of the Texas Labor Code to require service on the Division of petition for judicial review (the current version requires only notice that suit is filed) as well as any proposed agreed judgment. In addition, the statute would require disclosure to the Division of all terms of settlement and payment agreed to by the parties as part of the proposed agreed judgment. –Dan Price, SLS, LLP.
Texas Bill Requires Carriers to Pay for Injured Workers’ Causation Opinions.If the carrier disputes the extent of injury, HB 2226 would require the carrier to pay a treating doctor (or doctor on referral from the treating doctor) for the preparation or a causation report in support of the claimant’s position on extent of injury. Importantly, the bill allows the doctor to create and bill for such report even in the absence of a request to do so by the injured worker, his representative, or the insurance carrier. –Dan Price, SLS, LLP.
A Call for Less Experienced System Participants in Texas: Lowering the Bar for Ombudsmen.The current statutory requirements to serve as an ombudsman in the Office of Injured Employee Counsel include at least one year of experience in workers’ comp.See Tex. Lab. Code § 404.152(b)(4). HB 2060 would eliminate this requirement, meaning a person may become an ombudsman and, with no experience, assist an injured worker through the complexities of the Workers’ Comp Act. –Dan Price, SLS, LLP.
Compound Drugs Excluded from Texas’ Closed Formulary. HB 2830 would allow the Commissioner to exclude by rule from the closed formulary compounded pharmaceutical medications. –Dan Price, SLS, LLP.
All Work-Hardening/Conditioning Subject to Preauthorization in Texas, Unless Changed by Rule.Work-hardening and work-conditioning currently requires preauthorization only if the facility providing the work-hardening/conditioning is not a credentialed facility.See Tex. Lab. Code §413.014(2). HB 2058 would require preauthorization for all work-hardening/conditioning irrespective of whether the facility is credentialed or not. There is a catch, however. The bill would authorize the Commissioner to exempt by rule credentialed facilities from the preauthorization requirement. – Dan Price, SLS, LLP.