Employers and insurance companies in Florida have been fighting for workers’ comp reform after to Florida Supreme Court decisions apparently played a role in driving up workers’ comp insurance rates. In Castellanos v. Next Door Company, the court found last year that the mandatory attorney fee schedule in workers’ comp cases was unconstitutional. By limiting the fees an attorney can receive in a workers’ comp case, the law was effectively limiting the ability of injured workers to obtain competent legal representation. Justices recognized that the workers’ comp system is supposed to provide an easy and quick way for injured workers to receive benefits. However, it is clear that the system has become so complex that workers need the assistance of an attorney. The fee schedule limited access to qualified attorneys. In the case of Westphal v. City of St. Petersburg, the court ruled that Florida’s 104-week cap on temporary disability benefits was unconstitutional. The justices said that cutting off benefits to a worker who is totally disabled but has not reached maximum medical improvement should not occur. Instead, they went back to a previous limit of 260 weeks (five years) for temporary disability benefits. Opponents of the two decisions have argued that these two court rulings caused workers’ compensation insurance rates to increase by 14.5 percent since last year. They have been pushing the Florida Legislature to pass laws to reform workers’ comp.

Reform Fails

Last week, the Legislature ended its session without passing any reform. The House and Senate both had their own bills to reform workers’ comp laws, but neither could get the bills passed. One of the main sticking points was the cap on attorney fees. The House bill had placed a cap on workers’ comp attorney fees at $150 per hour even though lawmakers later voted to raise the cap to $180 per hour in an attempt to settle differences with the Senate proposal. In the Senate bill, the cap on attorney fees is $250. Senate members voted not to lower the cap even though House members tried to compromise by raising their cap. As the session came to an end, neither bill was passed. The failed legislation did not sit well with businesses or insurance companies.

Call a Miami Workers’ Comp Attorney for Help

If you were injured at work and you are having problems receiving your benefits we can help. Our Miami workers’ comp attorneys understand the complex laws governing workplace injuries in Florida. We guide you through the process of filing a workers’ comp claim as we protect your right to receive the benefits you deserve and need as you work to heal from an injury at work. The Broderick Law Firm, P.L. want to help you. Contact our office today 1-800-333-3903 to speak with an attorney. We represent individuals in West Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Fort Lauderdale & Miami, FL.