Workers' compensation at heart of Florida Supreme Court case

A case is before the Florida Supreme Court that alleges that workers who file for workers' compensation are having their rights violated since they receive inadequate benefits at the expense of losing their right to seek compensation through a lawsuit. This case was filed on behalf of a nurse. Her attorney noted in the lawsuit that the overhaul of the system in 2003 left workers with stripped benefits.

The overhaul that occurred in 2003 was an attempt to reduce the rate of insurance that employers had to pay, which were the highest in the country at that time. Some of the justices hearing the case noted that the reduction in workers' compensation benefits over the past 50 years is troubling. These benefits are supposed to include wage replacement, medical expenses and other services like vocational rehabilitation.

The lawyer for the hospital and claim management service noted that there wasn't factual evidence that should lead to a ruling that the system was unconstitutional. This case is the third to be heard regarding the workers' compensation system; however, neither of the other two cases have been ruled upon as of yet. All three cases could prove valuable for people who are injured at work and need to seek workers' compensation benefits.

In this case, the opposition's lawyer noted that the issues raised in the lawsuit are policy issues that should be addressed in the Legislature, not in the court system. Despite that attorney's assertion that the Supreme Court doesn't have the power to make a ruling in the case, the nurse's attorney notes that the issue is a constitutional issue that can be addressed in this manner.

Source: Miami Herald, "Florida Supreme Court weighs battle over workers’ comp," Jim Saunders, April 06, 2016

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