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Florida Supreme Court Set To Hear Miami Area Worker’s Challenge To State’s Workers’ Compensation Laws

The Florida Supreme court recently agreed to hear arguments over another constitutional challenge to the state’s exclusive remedy provision in its workers’ compensation laws. The Florida Supreme Court recently struck down a previous challenge to the state’s workers’ compensation laws last year but is nonetheless poised to consider the arguments in this case.

The case, Daniel Stahl v. Hialeah Hospital, et al., began back in 2003 when the petitioner, working as a nurse at Hialeah hospital near Miami, suffered a debilitating back injury. Two years later, after reaching his maximum medical improvement, physicians determined the injury victim bringing the petition was unable to lift more than 10 pounds, effectively ending his career.

The plaintiff was given 12 weeks of impairment income benefits totaling $5,472. The plaintiff’s claim for permanent total disability (PTD) was subsequently denied after adjusters claimed his injury did not meet the criteria for PTD status.

Constitutional claims against Florida workers’ compensation laws

The plaintiff’s claim alleges Florida’s workers’ compensation laws are “inadequate and therefore cannot be the exclusive remedy for on-the-job injuries.” Furthermore, the plaintiff alleges his inability to file suit against his employer for partial disability benefits under state law violates the U.S. Constitution.

The suit is just one of many since Florida overhauled its workers’ compensation laws in 2003. Several suits challenging the constitutionality of Florida’s workers’ compensation laws have come and gone before the state’s highest court, each time being upheld. The Stahl case has attracted attention from several powerful insurance companies in Florida and across the U.S.

Lobbyists for the workers’ compensation industry argue if the Florida Supreme Court upholds the plaintiff’s challenge to the state’s law, serious repercussions would be felt. In particular, the Florida Association of Insurance Agents (FAIA) claims a successful challenge by the petitioner would “imperil the entirety of the workers’ compensation act, clog the court with costly lawsuits and weaken Florida’s economy.”

What the Stahl case means for injured Florida workers

Currently, Florida’s workers’ compensation laws provide exclusive remedy to sort out workplace injury claims. Injured workers may only file insurance claims with their employers and not formal civil lawsuits to recover medical treatment and lost wages. Should the petitioner’s challenge in this case succeed, injured workers may be able to take their employers to court over inadequate workers’ compensation benefits.

As a law firm committed to helping injured workers exercise all legal avenues available to get full workers’ compensation benefits, The Pendas Law Firm will continue to actively monitor the situation. No injured worker and their family should have to worry about the financial repercussions of a workplace injury, and instead should focus on healing and getting back to work as soon as possible.

Orlando workers’ compensation lawyers

If you or a loved one was hurt in an industrial accident on the job, developed a medical condition over the course of your employment, or suffered a work-related illness, The Pendas Law Firm can help you and your family get the benefits you deserve. Our law firm represents clients throughout Tampa, Orlando, Fort Myers, Jacksonville, Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach. Contact us for a consultation about your workers’ compensation claim.

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