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Governor Crist Makes It Hard for Florida Worker’s Injured on the Job To Find A Workers’ Compensation Lawyer | Tampa Bay Workers’ Compensation Lawyer > Latest News  > Governor Crist Makes It Hard for Florida Worker’s Injured on the Job To Find A Workers’ Compensation Lawyer | Tampa Bay Workers’ Compensation Lawyer

Governor Crist Makes It Hard for Florida Worker’s Injured on the Job To Find A Workers’ Compensation Lawyer | Tampa Bay Workers’ Compensation Lawyer

Front page news on Florida workers compensaton fees:



THE CAPITAL, TALLAHASSEE, May 29, 2009......Without any fanfare, Gov.
Charlie Crist on Friday signed legislation sought by the business
community that will restore a statutory fee schedule for plaintiffs
lawyers in workers compensation cases.

A previous fee schedule that effectively limited how much lawyers can
earn for representing injured workers was thrown out by the state
Supreme Court last year, leading to widespread fears in the business
community that years of declines in workers comp insurance premiums
would be reversed.

And in fact, it appeared that rates were headed back up - the state
Office of Insurance Regulation had already approved one workers comp
premium increase citing the Supreme Court ruling last year in Murray v.
Mariner. Commissioner Kevin McCarty ordered a 6.4 percent increase in
workers' compensation rates in the wake of the ruling, though that can
be revisited considering the new law. 

Opponents of the bill (HB 903) warned during the session that simply
restoring the cap and removing statutory language that had been in the
previous law that required workers comp fees be "reasonable," simply
invited another court challenge. The Supreme Court said in Murray that
the law was inconsistent because it limited attorneys fees to what the
fee schedule allowed, yet required they be "reasonable," and the two
things were sometime incompatible. In the Murray case, the lawyer
collected about $8 an hour under the fee schedule. 

The workers compensation lawyer fee cap was one of several reforms made
by lawmakers in 2003 to try to address high premiums. And in addition to
a crackdown on fraud, it worked, as premiums dropped fairly steeply over
the last few years. 

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Anitere Flores, R-Miami, in the House and
Sen. Garrett Richter, R-Naples in the Senate, was sought by nearly every
large and small business group. 

And they applauded the governor's move Friday. 

"With unemployment in Florida at 9.6 percent, Florida's employers need
these resources to hire more employees and assist them in transitioning
through these tough economic times," the Florida Chamber said in a
statement. "This legislation ensures injured workers receive more in
benefits than plaintiffs' trial lawyers do in fees. "

That claim is patently false! Ask any injured Florida worker if they are really getting the Florida workers' compensation
benefits they are due and the answer is "NO!". Carrier rountinely and often fraudulently denied care recommended by 
the doctor they authorize to treat the injured employee.

Carrier often hire doctors who are known to say that an injured employee does not need care just to deny benefits. This law
makes it harder for injured employees to find lawyers to take their Florida workers' compensation case.

I am sure the Florida Chamber of Commerce, which sells workers' compensation policies to its members, is laughing all the way
to the bank. I never saw any reduction in my premiums when I was insured by them. I wonder where
the profit went that was made by wrongfully denying claims by using hired guns to say "no major contributing cause",
or forcing the injured employee to settle so they did not face the all or nothing EMA process invoked by carrier created 
medical conflicts.

It makes me sick to think I am paying a workers' compensation premium to protect my employees when I know what games
my workers' compensation carrier will play if one of my employees is injured. 

The Florida legislature and Governor Crist have once again let the Florida employers and injured workers' down udner the guise of 
"greedy lawyers and fees." What the Florida public really wants to know is where is the money going that should be paid to 
injured employees whose workers' compensation claims are wrongfully denied? The sound is deafeing!

Answering these broad-based questions isn't easy. Help is a phone call away. You can contact Nancy Cavey, an experienced 
long-term disability attorney at 727-894-3188.

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