Workers compensation insurance was a system developed to provide benefits for workers who are injured on the job. It was designed to provide payment for both medical costs and lost wages. A recent ruling has allowed some companies to implement their own self-insurance for workers compensation. This action has led to a number of problems for workers who are denied benefits under these “individualized” insurance programs.
The Oklahoma Ruling
In Oklahoma, a Pottawatomie County district judge rules that an injured worker can sue his employer for negligence if the injury was “foreseeable.” The decision flew in the face of the state’s 2013 law that changed the workers compensation programs from a court-based system to an administrative system. In the effort to balance companies’ interests and workers’ interests, the states have changed the scope of workers compensation laws many times. The recent decision appears to putting more legal power into the hands of workers.
Florida Workers Compensation Self Insurance Program
In Florida, 98% of businesses operate under the traditional workers compensation insurance program. The rest are covered under Florida’s workers compensation self-insurance rules. Self-insurance often involves the use of policies with larger deductibles and lower premiums. However, in some cases, employers have failed to properly fund their self-insurance programs, leaving gaps in the ability to provide benefits for injured workers. In addition, analysts have also found that the Florida self insurance program sometimes results in more frequent denials of claims, as well as decreases in both the amount and type of medical services permitted under self insurance coverage. These problems have led to a number of injured employees seeking legal advice from a Coral Springs workers compensation lawyer to help them resolve these issues.
Workers Compensation Benefits Under Attack
In both Oklahoma and Florida, changes in workers compensation law are moving toward “exclusive remedy,” meaning the injured worker can only go through the state’s worker compensation systems and cannot sue employers. In addition, reductions in the length of time allowed for partial disability payments were reduced from 500 weeks to 350. Recognizing that the right of workers to receive benefits for injuries sustained on the job has been under attack for a number of years, these restrictions on injured workers’ ability to sue negligent employers have been upheld by a number of judges.
If you or someone you know has a similar problem concerning workers compensation benefits, contact your Broward Workers Compensation Attorney Evan Ostfeld to discuss your legal options for the resolution of your case.