Finally, Florida injured workers get a much needed break.
At long last, the Florida Supreme Court gave us their decision in the case of Westphal v. City of St. Petersburg. Those of us who represent injured workers have seen the hardship imposed on our clients since the Florida Legislature enacted one of the most anti injured worker laws in the country. Among other things, it limited temporary disability benefits (lost wages) to only 104 weeks. So even though the worker was on no work status per the workers' comp doctor or was disabled after the 104 weeks, too bad, temporary monetary benefits ended. Imagine, being unable to work because you got hurt on the job and your benefits get cut off. Calling this cap on Temporary Partial Disability benefits so oppressive “that the workers suffer in silence rather than fight a system that is so obviously and drastically skewed against them.”
Finally, good news for the working man and woman. On June 9, 2016, the Florida Supreme Court declared Florida Statute 440.15(2)(a) unconstitutional. The Florida Supreme Court concluded that provision was unconstitutional based on a denial of right of access to the Courts. As a result of their ruling, the prior constitutional provision of the workers compensation law becomes applicable. So, the Justices ruled that the injured worker could have 5 years or 525 weeks to receive benefits for lost wages based on an earlier constitutional statute. Those weeks do not have to be sequential.
How long will this good news last? It is anticipated that the pro employer, pro insurance company Florida legislature will be making changes to the workers compensation statute as fast as they can. For now, let's rejoice. Justice, my friends, has been served to those who needed it the most.
Meanwhile, our firm is filing more Petitions for Benefits to secure these benefits for our clients. For more information, call us at (321) 690-2363.
Since 1995, The Law Office of Arna D. Cortazzo, P.A. has represented people who have suffered work-related injuries. As a former workers' compensation insurance attorney, Arna Cortazzo has invaluable experience that she puts to work for her clients. We represent injured workers in all types of work-related accidents. If you or someone you know was injured on the job, contact us now.
I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!