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Workers' compensation question brought to state Supreme Court

A question regarding Florida workers' compensation is being put before the state Supreme Court after an appeals court declined to rule on the matter. The answer to the question, if the state court will provide one, could mean a large shift in the way employee injury cases are handled in the state.

In most states, workers' compensation is considered to be an exclusive remedy for anyone injured during job duties. This means that an employee cannot usually seek a third-party lawsuit against an employer and must seek compensation for losses through workers' compensation. Sometimes, a remedy is provided for a lawsuit in cases where the plaintiff can show possible gross negligence on the part of the employer, but that isn't always the case.

In one case in Florida, a district judge ruled that workers' compensation was not an exclusive remedy for injured workers because of changes made to the law and the fact that the exclusivity was unconstitutional. That case was appealed, but the appellate court reportedly declined to make a ruling on the constitutionality of workers' compensation exclusivity. The appellate judges stated that plaintiffs lacked standing for the challenge.

The matter is reportedly being appealed to the state Supreme Court. If the court decides to hear the matter and make a decision, it is something workers involved in compensation situations should pay attention to. The state court decision could make a difference in how workers are able to seek compensation for injuries and damages that occur on the job; if the court decides workers' compensation is not an exclusive remedy, a precedent may be set for future personal injury lawsuits.

Source: Business Insurance, "Florida Supreme Court asked to review workers comp constitutionality case," Stephanie Goldberg, July 14, 2015

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