A Storm On The Horizon In Florida
The Florida Supreme Court declared in April that a law limiting workers’ compensation attorneys' fees is unconstitutional. The law was implemented in 2003 as part of a sweeping reform enacted by the Florida legislature to drive costs down for employers. The laws did have a material impact, as average claim costs and premium rates have steadily declined in the years since. Yet many critics argue that the current system has swung too far against injured employees.
The portion of the law struck down places strict limits on attorneys’ fees, outlawing retainers and hourly fees. Injured workers will now be able to enter into a fee agreement with a claimant attorney, subject to approval by the judge of compensation claims.
Now big changes have materialized on the horizon. Judges are already starting to award significantly higher fees above schedule and the marketplace is bracing for large rate hikes and significant new litigation on old cases.
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