Everyone knows worker's comp is a joke, an unfair, byzantine, broken-down system that no one could claim is satisfactory or one that treats injured workers with dignity.
Still, it takes a brave jurist to call a spade a spade:
A Miami judge declared Florida’s long-controversial workers’ compensation law unconstitutional Wednesday, saying successive state legislatures had so diminished medical care and wage-loss benefits for injured workers that the statute now violates employees’ “fundamental” rights.There are already a few cases working their way to the FL Supremes, including this one:
In a case involving a Miami-Dade County government office worker, Circuit Judge Jorge E. Cueto said the nearly 80-year-old law forces injured workers into a legal system that is so flawed it does not provide adequate medical care or dollars to replace lost wages. Under Florida law, workers have no choice but to seek benefits under the workers’ comp system. Except under rare circumstances, they cannot sue their employers.
“The benefits in the act have been so decimated,” Cueto wrote, “that it no longer provides a reasonable alternative” to filing suit in civil court.
Cueto’s ruling comes at a pivotal time for mostly blue-collar and agricultural workers in Florida: Lawmakers and business leaders say high workers’ compensation insurance premiums have threatened to derail the state’s economic growth, while worker advocates say the state has allowed widespread insurance fraud to fester while counteracting the high premiums by punishing workers.
The controversy, which has simmered for years, is becoming increasingly prominent as worker rights lawyers ask judges, including those on the state’s highest court, to strike down the law once and for all.
“This system of redress does not comport with any notion of natural justice, and its result is repugnant to fundamental fairness because it relegates a severely injured worker to a legal twilight zone of economic and familial ruin,” a three-judge Tallahassee appeals court panel wrote in a February 2013 opinion that struck down the statute. The full court later restored the law, and the case is now before the state’s highest court.This is yet another reason to get rid of the Lizard Governor before he packs the Supremes with a bunch of his cronies.
Did I mention VOTE NO on Amendment 3?