If you've recently been injured at work and have had to file a workers' compensation claim with your employer to cover your medical bills and other related expenses, you may be anxious to meet with your doctor to determine how well your treatment plan has been working. Getting discouraging news from the doctor can be both a physical and emotional blow, particularly if you're not sure you'll ever be able to return to your old position again. While you may be eligible for partial permanent disability benefits based on this injury, if you're unable to go back to your pre-injury job, the amount you receive could be much lower than you might expect, particularly now that the U.S. Supreme Court has spoken on the constitutionality of Florida's workers' compensation laws. Read on to learn more about how the U.S. Supreme Court's recent refusal to accept a workers' compensation appeal could affect your job and what this can mean for the result of your own workers' compensation case.
What is the state of the law now that the Supreme Court has spoken on this issue?
When the Supreme Court refuses to take a case on appeal, the court ruling being appealed is allowed to stand — so in this case, the district court's decision holding that Florida's workers' compensation laws were constitutionally permissible was upheld by the highest court. As it now stands, workers' compensation insurers are permitted to eliminate a certain type of permanent disability benefit without extending a similar or comparable benefit to covered employees, potentially reducing the amount you'll be able to receive even if you were permanently disabled (physically or mentally).
However, it's not all bad news — the Florida Supreme Court also overturned a presumptive fee case, ensuring that any attorney fees you incur during this process must be documented and justified before the court will require your workers' comp insurer to pay these fees on your behalf. This year, the Florida Supreme Court also held that the state legislature's attempt to cap a type of disability benefits at 104 weeks was unconstitutional, requiring the restoration of the previous 260-week limit.
What could these court rulings mean for your own workers' compensation case?
These rulings have put some more stringent guidelines in place for your own workers' compensation claim. Although the facts of each case are different, the combined effect of these rulings makes it clearer when permanent partial disability benefits are permissible and when they're not. Your best bet is to consult a workers' compensation attorney, such as those found at Hardee and Hardee LLP, who can help you navigate these sticky legal issues and get all the funds to which you're legally entitled.Share