Florida workers won a victory on June 9 when the state Supreme Court ruled that a firefighter should have his disability benefits reinstated. The man had suffered a back injury in 2009, and after two years, his benefits came to an end. The court referred to this as a disability gap.
The man had reached the two-year deadline for receiving temporary total disability benefits. However, when he applied for permanent benefits, he was denied on the grounds that he had not reached “maximum medical improvement.” As a result, he had to wait several months before accessing permanent disability benefits.
The majority ruling was that the state should return to the rules that were in place prior to 1994. These rules allowed a person to draw on temporary disability for five years. In the majority opinion, one of the judges wrote that the worker’s benefits had been cut off while he was still injured and actively in treatment by city-selected doctors. The dissenting judges wrote that the legislature had increased compensation payments but decreased the time in which they were available and that the issue needed to be addressed by that body and not as a judicial issue.
Businesses, the legislature and advocates for workers have been in conflict over laws that advocates say are harmful to workers. In April, the state Supreme Court declared a limit on the attorneys’ fees in workers compensation cases was unconstitutional. Business groups plan to turn to the legislature to see about getting that law changed.
Although most injured workers are eligible for workers compensation benefits, employers may put obstacles in their path to claiming those benefits. Workers often do not know their rights or face intimidation at work when trying to file a claim or even take time off for injury. People who are in need of a Coconut Creek workers compensation lawyer may want to contact the law firm of Evan M. Ostfeld, P.A. This law firm can assist with a number of issues around workers compensation ranging from choosing a physician to filling out claims paperwork to filing an appeal and more. An attorney like Evan M. Ostfeld may be able to advise the employee about their rights and how they can protect themselves. If you or someone you know has faced a situation in which your right to benefits has been denied, contact our firm at (954) 227-7529.