Florida Workers’ Compensation laws are changing on a yearly basis. The past two years have brought a welcomed shift from an employer-controlled system to an employee-friendly law. We hope that 2018 ushers in sweeping changes to Workers’ Compensation law. That said, here’s how the law has changed recently and what we expect in the near future:
LOST WAGES ARE NO LONGER CAPPED
Prior to 2016, Injured workers were entitled to lost wages. However, indemnity/lost wages benefits were capped at 104 weeks (2 years). This arbitrary marker had no rhyme or reason. Why would benefits stop after two years of paying out lost wages? This issue was decided by the Supreme Court. The Justices agreed that the 104-week stoppage was arbitrary and restricted injured workers’ access to benefits/court. Thus, the Supreme Court decided 256 weeks or 5 years would be constitutionally based on past Workers’ Compensation law.
This is certainly a positive trend in how the Florida Workers’ Compensation laws are changing!
We all have lives to lead outside of our employment. Illness, hospitalization, and tending to our loved ones certainly throw a wrench in our daily schedules. However, our Honorable Judges have become more liberal in granting rescheduling of legal events and waivers of certain timelines. These changes have occurred within the past year. We’re seeing a system that is a lot more liberal.
WORKERS’ COMPENSATION OR PERSONAL INJURY
Generally speaking, an injured worker must choose his/her remedy. Either sue in Tort or Workers’ Compensation. However, many challenges have been presented to this “exclusive remedy rule.” The Supreme Court is currently in the process of reviewing and deciding this issue. The Workers’ Compensation law will dramatically evolve and change for the betterment of the injured worker if Supreme Court rules that negligence of the employer could lead to a Personal Injury Suit. Both areas of the law provide medical care and should certainly be available to the injured worker.
MAXIMUM COMPENSATION RATE INCREASES
The Workers’ Compensation law is changing in the realm of compensation increases. The maximum amount an injured worker can be reimbursed for lost wages is currently $886 a week. This number will increase in 2018 to $917.00. That means if you earn a salary in line with $917.00 you will not be capped at $886.00 a week!
Attorney’s fees provisions
Attorney’s are now permitted to earn flat fees instead of the convoluted statutory scheme and Employer/Carrier paid fees. Why does this matter? Injured workers across the state of Florida are able to hire Workers’ Compensation attorneys who are experienced and reliable. This law changed in 2016 shifting from a system where attorney’s fees may be as low as $1.00 an hour!
It is essential for employees who are injured on the job to have a Florida Workers Compensation Attorney review all of their documents prior to filing a Florida Workers Compensation lawsuit.
Our firm, LaBovick Law Group has proven, time and time again, to spearhead the attack on insurance companies who mislead injured workers and act against their obligations on the Workers Compensation Law. We will not back down from a fight, even against a giant company like Walgreens. Please feel free to call us regarding the most FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS WE RECEIVE.
We are available 24/7/365 for a call (561) 623-3681. Happy Holidays and be safe throughout the New Year!