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Florida Awaits Decision On Workers’ Compensation Rates

State regulators are reviewing the National Council on Compensation Insurance’s request for a rate increase, part of a legal filing and ruling on Florida’s workers compensation system by the state’s Supreme Court.

It started with Castellanos v. Next Door Company and Bradley Westphal v. City of Petersburg, and the request for a 20 percent rate increase. Analysts believe these matters will have significant impact in other areas. One change has been temporary total disability benefits being extended from two to five years after which permanent disability can be requested.

To date, no deadline has been set for any proposed rate increase.

When the smoke clears, there could also be an amount increase for litigated claims. This is expected now that negotiated fee agreements between attorneys and claimants are possible and a claimant’s Coral Springs workers comp attorney can receive compensation outside Florida’s statutory fee schedule.

Alongside increased costs behind future claims, there has been concern and discussion about unfunded liability that could result from these legal decisions with an estimation that could exceed a billion dollars. The decisions may have a retroactive impact on open and potentially re-opened claims filed before the effective date of any rate increase.

Obviously, the Supreme Court’s decision has created something of a domino effect after the determination that the mandatory fee schedule for a Coral Springs workers comp attorney was unconstitutional as it hindered due process under state and U.S. constitutions.

As a Coral Springs workers comp attorney, Evan Ostfeld has been following this matter closely. He was familiar with the Westphal case in which a former paramedic and firefighter was injured on the job, requiring a number of back surgeries. Unable to return to work, Westphal was eligible for the standard 104 weeks of temporary benefits. This traditionally covered a period of supposed healing before reaching a maximum medical improvement period and claiming permanent benefits. In this case, Westphal was denied long term benefits because he had exhausted temporary benefits before reaching the maximum medical improvement period. That meant his physicians were unable to determine long term recovery prospects.

However these matters resolve themselves, the office of Evan Ostfeld will continue to act as a Coral Springs workers comp attorney. He understands the complicated phases and often unfairness of the system. If you or someone you know is in the middle of a dispute involving a workplace injury and deserved compensation, call Evan Ostfeld, P.A.

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