Montgomery & Bucks County Workers' Compensation Law Blog

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Florida Businesses Fighting Back against Recent State Supreme Court Ruling on Workers' Comp

Why are Florida businesses fighting the recent state Supreme Court ruling on workers' comp?

Florida's state Supreme Court recently upset businesses in the state by striking down caps on attorneys' fees in workers' compensation cases. The businesses are rallying their forces to fight back, saying this ruling could cost business owners hundreds of millions of dollars.

The crux of the decision is that attorneys who choose to represent employees in workers' compensation disputes are not limited in what they can charge anymore. In the case the court considered, the lawyer had been paid less than $2 an hour (!) to fight for his client.

Two Opposing Views

While insurance companies are requesting the increase from state regulators, lobbyists for business interests are loudly objecting to what they say will be a 17 percent proposed hike in workers' comp insurance premiums. The Florida director of the National Federation of Independent Business, Bill Herrle, states that the increase would result in a combined total business cost of more than $600 million. Speaking on Florida Public Radio, he called the decision "unsustainable for many independent business owners" and "a very dire threat to Florida's economy."

On the other hand, Jacksonville labor attorney Tad Delegal says that the decision is beneficial for workers. He points out that, before this decision, workers' comp insurance rates had been dropping for years. "Injured employees — if there was any dispute about whether they should be compensated —had no realistic alternative because no attorney could possibly afford to represent these people."

Trying to Strike a Fair Balance

Delegal further comments that although this court decision is "a shock to some employers," it is a necessary means of rebalancing the system, which was previously weighted heavily on the side of business interests.

The organization plans to hold at least one public hearing this summer. The new rates could take effect as early as August 1st if the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation approves the rate hike.

Workers' compensation regulations differ from state to state, and each state, including Pennsylvania, has its own complexities. This is why, if you have been injured on the job in the greater Philadelphia metropolitan area , it is extremely important that you contact an experienced law firm with an excellent track record to assist you in receiving help with your medical bills and just compensation for your pain and suffering.

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