A recent study performed by the United States Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has found what I and Florida’s injured workers have known for years, that Florida’s workers’ compensation laws provide inadequate benefits for Florida’s workers that are injured while working on the job.
The OSHA study revealed that despite decades of legal requirements that employers provide safe workplaces (Please know Florida is one of the very few states that does not have workplace safety laws), every year, more than 3 million workers are seriously injured, and thousands more are killed on the job.
After representing Florida’s injured workers for more than 18 years I believe that most of these workplace accidents are avoidable. However, the current laws in Florida don’t encourage employers to spend the necessary resources to make sure that many of these avoidable accidents do not occur. In fact, Florida law provides incentives to Florida’s employers to save money by cutting safety costs since should one of their employees become injured on the job they have little, if any, legal exposure for the injuries they cause.
The OSHA report has determined that changes in workers compensation laws throughout the United States, including Florida, have made it increasingly difficult for injured workers to receive the full benefits (including adequate wage replacement payments and coverage for their medical expenses) to which they should be entitled.
The OSHA report revealed that employers now only provide a small percentage, estimated at about 20%, of the overall financial cost of workplace injuries and illness through workers compensation. Who pays the other 80% you may ask? These changes in workers compensation laws have shifted the cost of workplace injuries onto injured workers, their families and tax payers to subsidize the vast majority (roughly 80%) of the lost income and necessary medical care costs from work place accidents.
In light of the fact that workers’ compensation laws were originally drafted so that industry would bear the cost of their workplace accidents it is very troubling to see that they now only pay for about 20% and that the victims and tax payers now pay roughly 80% of these costs.
Should you like to discuss this article, Or should you or a loved one have been involved in a workplace accident please do not hesitate to call me, James D. Payer at (305) 854–4442. All consultations are free and confidential.