Is Florida’s workers’ comp insurance legal?

The Florida Supreme Court may soon be looking into the constitutionality of Workers’ Comp insurance in the state

Is Florida’s workers’ comp insurance legal?

Insurance News

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It appears that a legal challenge to the constitutionality of Florida workers’ compensation system is heading to the Florida Supreme Court, even after it was thrown out by a state appeals court last month.
 
The plaintiffs—Florida Workers’ Advocates and Workers’ Injury Law & Advocacy Group, and Elsa Padgett—filed a petition earlier this month with the high court and it’s expected that it will be heard.
 
Previously, a three-judge panel of the Third District court did not rule on the constitutionality of the workers’ compensation system itself. Instead it cited procedural issues and said the plaintiffs lacked standing to bring the suit.
 
The dismissal came in response to judgment by Florida 11th Circuit Court Judge Jorge Cueto, who determined that the “exclusiveness of liability” provision of the Florida Workers’ Compensation Law that immunizes an employer and its employees from lawsuits for covered, work-related injuries, is facially unconstitutional.
 
In the 2014 decision, Judge Cueto ruled that the benefits provided under the Workers’ Compensation Law that was revised in 2003 are inadequate to qualify as an exclusive remedy for injured workers.
 
“When it comes to a business standpoint, it’s no doubt that larger premiums mean a bigger cut for myself as a producer, but from an ethical standpoint the lower cost of Workers’ Compensation means that an important coverage is easily and readily available to consumers across the state,” Alexander Cull, an agent with Brightway Insurance in Boca Raton, Fla., told Insurance Business America. “I’m willing to gander that the lowered cost of Workers’ Compensation has encouraged businesses to be willing to take on more employees and spur business as well.”
 
Cull fears that if the Florida Supreme Court rules the 2003 provision unconstitutional, those insured will find themselves with ludicrously increased rates over time.
 
“Rates will increase, and it will be more difficult for businesses and contractors to expand due to increase costs, and it will all fall back on the consumer,” he said. “Lowering costs has not only freed up the income of insureds, but allowed many insureds to spend more on better coverage. At the end of the day, quality coverage is what matters most.”
 

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