Tort Reform Prompts Tennessee Workers’ Compensation Rates to Decline for Ninth Consecutive Year


Staff at the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance (TDCI) announced Tuesday that in 2022 workers’ compensation insurance premiums are likely to decline for most Tennessee businesses for the ninth consecutive year.

TDCI officials, in a press release, attribute the savings to workers comp reforms that the state enacted in the previous decade.

“Since Tennessee’s workers’ compensation system reforms began in 2014, loss cost reductions of over 59 percent have been approved, representing substantial savings for Tennessee employers,” according to the TDCI press release.

“The reduced loss costs are also impacted by Tennessee employers seeing fewer significant workplace injuries.”

TDCI Commissioner Carter Lawrence this month approved a 5.6 percent overall loss cost decrease beginning March 1, 2022 on new and renewal policies, the press release said.

“Tennessee employers and employees have faced and overcome numerous challenges in recent years,” Lawrence said.

“These reductions reflect the continued trend of safer workplaces and will mean Tennessee employers may now have more money to invest back into their businesses and employees which will help bolster Tennessee’s economy.”

State legislators in 2014 enacted tort reform laws.

With certain exceptions, the new law placed a $750,000 cap on non-economic damages and caps punitive damages of two times the compensatory damages, or $500,000, whichever is greater.

The Tennessee Supreme Court last year upheld the state’s tort reform law.

The Washington, D.C.-based National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) said at the time that “one unfortunate lawsuit can cause outsized trouble for any business.”

“In Tennessee, there is a statutory cap on noneconomic damages (such as pain and suffering, and punitive damages) of $750,000, with some exceptions for particularly bad actors. This law came under fire recently when plaintiffs challenged the validity of the statute, hoping to cash in by collecting more than the $750,000 authorized by law. In a decision released on February 26, 2020, the Tennessee Supreme Court disagreed with the plaintiffs and upheld the statute,” according to the NFIB.

“Specifically, the plaintiffs argued that the Tennessee damages cap was unconstitutional under state law for three reasons: (1) the statute violated the right to trial by jury; (2) the statute violated the separation of powers between the legislative branch and the judicial branch; and (3) the statute discriminated disproportionately against women. The Tennessee Supreme Court disagreed on all three counts.”

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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Injured Employee” by Victoria_Borodinova.





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2 Thoughts to “Tort Reform Prompts Tennessee Workers’ Compensation Rates to Decline for Ninth Consecutive Year”

  1. John

    I suppose this is a good first start but they need to also address the ‘right to work’ clause. As of right now, you can be terminated without reason, with no recourse. Imagine having a new boss who is a woke SJW and finds out you swing right and also a God-fearing Christian.

    If it happened to me, it can happen to you too.

    1. 83ragtop50


      It sounds like you were dumped because of your beliefs. I am sympathetic to that but I would not give up the right to quit my job without justification in order to “gain” retention of my job under the circumstances you cited. Could it be God closing a door so you can be blessed with something better?