Recently, the legislature in Tennessee considered allowing large employers to “opt- out” of the state workers’ compensation system. Opting out means essentially that larger employers like Wal‑Mart, for example, can essentially set up their own workers’ compensation systems that are outside the state system. This gives larger employers cost savings, but it also short changes injured workers. It also limits their remedy in some cases.
Currently, there are two other states where employers can opt-out of the workers’ compensation system – Texas and Oklahoma. Texas is the state that has had the opt-out provision available for quite some time. In Texas, however, if an employer opts out of the state workers’ compensation system, and the employee can show negligence on the part of the employer, they can sue the employer in tort just like a person would do in a common personal injury case.
Oklahoma, on the other hand, does not have that provision. Oklahoma allows employers to opt-out, but precludes injured workers from suing the employer in tort.
Arizona currently does not have an opt-out provision and hopefully we never see that during our lifetimes. It would most likely decimate the benefits available to Arizona injured workers by reducing compensation and medical treatment. Furthermore, it would most likely shift costs to Medicare, Medicaid, and private health insurers.
Fendon Law Firm is the largest family owned and operated workers’ compensation and Social Security disability law firm in Arizona. We offer free consultations for workers’ compensation and Social Security disability cases. Our offices are located in Phoenix, Tucson, Prescott, and Flagstaff. We also accept cases throughout the state. We treat clients like family because we are family.