Florida Supreme Court Refuses Workers Compensation LawsuitDecember 25, 2015
The Florida Supreme Court refused to hear a workers compensation lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the state’s current system. The suit contended that the system prevented injured workers from pursuing legal action against their employers. An appeals court ruling stated that workers did not have the legal justification to pursue a workers compensation lawsuit. Attorneys for an injured worker sought to have the appeals court ruling overturned, but the state’s highest court turned down the chance to hear the case.
Details of the Workers Compensation Lawsuit
Attorneys for an injured farm worker filed their workers compensation lawsuit against Velda Farms LLC in 2010. The worker, Julio Cortes, suffered a back injury while operating farm equipment and was unable to work. The workers compensation lawsuit sought to overturn a 2003 law that placed strict limits on non-economic damages for injured workers. Non-economic damages include factors such as attorneys’ fees, punitive damages, and pain and suffering.
Does Florida’s Workers Compensation System Reduce Lawsuits?
The workers compensation lawsuit also sought to challenge the state’s worker insurance system. The system gives workers the right to receive benefits for injuries suffered on the job, but limits their abilities to file workers compensation lawsuits against their employers. The attorneys for Mr. Cortes argued that the lawsuit award limits favored employers and insurance carriers over injured workers. They also alleged that the limitations placed on an employee’s ability to file a lawsuit violated the state and U.S. constitutions.
AG Weighs In On Workers Compensation Lawsuit
Earlier this year, Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi wrote a letter to the court asking the justices not to hear the workers compensation lawsuit. The letter said that the state’s highest court “does not have jurisdiction to review this case.” The state’s leading attorney told the high court that the appeals court that ruled on the workers compensation lawsuit “had not ruled on the constitutional issue” and had “disclaimed any consideration of the merits of the constitutional claims.”
Other Workers Compensation Lawsuits May Reach High Court
Although the Cortes has been tabled, at least three other workers compensation lawsuits may reach the state’s highest judicial body. The court will hear a workers compensation lawsuit this October from a Miami-area hospital worker who was injured on the job. A case involving a South Florida employee who was injured in an altercation with a co-worker seeks to remove the limits on attorneys fees in workers compensation lawsuits. A case brought by a St. Petersburg firefighter will attempt to address the state’s “temporary total disability” insurance program.
Source: Tampa Bay Times
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