Following the Florida Supreme Court’s recent reconfiguration of attorney fees in workers’ compensation-related cases, the Florida Chamber of Commerce cautioned area businesses, warning that such a major shift could damage the state’s economy.
Until recently, Florida courts practiced a system intended to control spiraling workers’ comp rates. Now, a plaintiff’s attorney stands to gain nearly five times the amount his client was awarded because justices ruled the lawyer should be paid $38,000 in a case where the worker received $800.
The Florida Chamber has crusaded to lower workers’ comp rates by almost 60 percent over the past 13 years while working to ensure quick recovery time.
Mark Wilson, Chamber president and CEO, said the organization expected the court to favor trial lawyers at the literal expense of workers and businesses when it ruled to support a 17.1 percent plaintiff trial lawyer tax. Consequently, the Chamber has redoubled its efforts to achieve a more equitable outcome.
“In a state in which two of every three jobs [are] created by small businesses, a rate increase this significant can have a damaging impact on job creation and the economy,” Wilson said. “At the Florida Chamber, we believe that putting job creators and injured workers first is the right thing to do to keep Florida’s workers’ comp system working.”