Get ready for more changes to Florida’s workers’ compensation system in 2019. Florida’s workers’ comp system has been experiencing turbulence since 2016, when the Florida Supreme Court ruled against fee restrictions based on the rationale that it violates workers’ due process rights under the state and U.S Constitution.
As one judge for the majority wrote, “Without the likelihood of an adequate attorney’s fee award, there is little disincentive for a carrier to deny benefits or to raise multiple defenses…Virtually since its inception, the right of a claimant to obtain a reasonable prevailing party attorney’s fee has been central to the workers’ compensation law.”
Though the Florida Supreme Court’s decision was a victory for attorneys and employees, it dealt a major blow to businesses, who have since experienced a 14 percent increase in insurance rates. The Florida House and Senate both created bills in an effort to address the issue of rising insurance costs and attorney’s fees, but they failed to pass anything before their legislative session came to a close in early May.
New Rates for 2019
Florida Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier recently approved a 13.8% workers’ compensation rate decrease in an effort to reverse the damage done to businesses in 2016. This decrease will go into effect on January 1, 2019 for all new and renewal businesses.
Altmaier explained his decision by stating, “Workers’ compensation insurance is a critical operating cost for business owners and the 13.8 percent rate decrease approval will allow employers to better support Florida’s families, visitors and labor force. This…. marks approximately $454 million in savings for employers.”
What To Do If You Are Injured On the Job
Regardless of the rates of workers’ compensation, if you are injured on the job, you are entitled to financial coverage while you recover from your injuries. Workers’ compensation is designed to cover the costs of your lost wages, medical bills, and other related expenses. Whether you fall from a ladder, sustain a repetitive motion injury, or slip on a wet floor, your employer is required to provide workers’ compensation.
If you find your employer is neglecting his responsibility or preventing you from receiving the compensation you deserve, reach out to Catania and Catania for a free case evaluation. Call 1-800-253-5523 to learn more.