SB 0856 Modifies various provisions of the workers' compensation law
LR Number:3231S.03C Fiscal Note:3231-03
Committee:Small Business, Insurance & Industrial Relations
Last Action:05/14/04 - S Inf Calendar S Bills for Perfection Journal page:
Title:SCS SB 856
Effective Date:August 28, 2004
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Current Bill Summary

SCS/SB 856 - This act revises the workers' compensation law.

The act requires that every appointed individual to the Labor and Industrial Relations Commission, serving in any capacity, must receive confirmation from the Senate.

The act modifies the definition of "accident" to include only events that are "an unexpected traumatic event or unusual strain identifiable by time and place of occurrence producing at the time objective systems of an injury, caused by a specific event during a single work shift". The act modifies the definition of "injury" by limiting the definition to only allow compensation if the accident was the dominant factor in causing the condition. The act limits benefits for pre-existing conditions in cases where a work-related injury causes increased permanent disability and reduces compensation by the amount of permanent partial disability that was pre-existing. The act exempts from coverage personal health conditions that manifest themselves at work when an accident is not the dominant factor in the need for medical treatment and injuries from unknown causes. Deterioration from normal activities of day-to-day living is not compensable. The act prohibits accidents which are sustained in route to work from being compensable. The act abrogates specific cases which address "arising out of" and "in the course of the employment".

The act states that an occupational disease is only compensable if the occupational exposure was the dominant factor in causing the condition. The act increases the penalty when violation of drug and alcohol rules are involved, by reducing benefits by 50 percent, it also requires that intoxication at or above the legal blood level be conclusively presumed to be the proximate cause of injury. The act requires that voluntary settlements be approved.

The act prohibits administrative law judges from having a campaign committee.

The act imposes an impartial standard of review for cases arising under this chapter, rather than a liberal construction that exists under current law.

The act allows an employee to opt out of workers' compensation for religious reasons, but he or she must sign a waiver agreeing not to take future civil actions against the employer.