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Thursday, December 2, 2010

Congressional Deficit Reform May Incorporate Workers Compensation Awards

Congressional deficit reform may encompass workers' compensation awards as an element for deficit reduction. National Underwriter (NU) reports that the proposal is supported by the co-chairman of the budget deficit commission (National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility)  that was appointed by President Barach Obama. A vote of the full committee is scheduled for Friday.

A proposal was also made to impose caps on punitive and non-economic damages in tort claims.

NU reported, "On tort reform, the co-chairmen recommended that among the policies that should be pursued, state and federal governments should consider modifying the “collateral source” rule to allow outside sources of income collected as a result of an injury (for example, workers’ compensation benefits or insurance benefits) to be considered in deciding awards."

Commission's report stated:
"Among the policies pursued, the following should be included: 1) Modifying the “collateral source” rule to allow outside sources of income collected as a result of an injury (for example workers’ compensation benefits or insurance benefits) to be considered in deciding awards; 2) Imposing a statute of limitations – perhaps one to three years – on medical malpractice lawsuits; 3) Replacing joint-and-several liability with a fair-share rule, under which a defendant in a lawsuit would be liable only for the percentage of the final award that was equal to his or her share of responsibility for the injury; 4) Creating specialized “health courts” for medical malpractice lawsuits; and 5) Allowing “safe haven” rules for providers who follow best practices of care."


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