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Workers’ Comp Changes in Florida and New York

Workers’ compensation laws are changing around the country to better protect American workers.

The U.S. Supreme Court is now reviewing Florida’s workers’ comp system after permanent partial disability benefits were cut by the state in an effort to save money.

According to Insurance Business America, the Supreme Court unanimously decided in 2015 not to review the 2003 case of Daniel Stahl v. Hialeah Hospital, in which Stahl injured his back while on the job, an injury leading to the end of his career because of his worsening conditions.

“It looks like it has become a very meager amount of compensation for an injured worker,” said Justice Barbara Pariente, “and it’s hard to deny that what’s happened over the last 50 years has not been a diminution in workers’ compensation benefits.”

The National Academy of Social Insurance reports that workers’ comp should pay 100% of the medical expenses for injured workers from the day of the injury. There should also be cash benefits for any lost wages after a three to seven day waiting period.

In Stahl’s case, he was forced to file a civil lawsuit against the hospital that alleged the medical facility had been negligent in causing his injury and that the state’s workers’ comp program was an “inadequate exclusive remedy” for workers who suffered injuries on the job.

In New York, the Workers’ Compensation Board agreed to enter into an alliance with U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

WorkersCompensation.com reports that Wage and Hour Division, New York State’s workers’ comp board, entered into a collaborative alliance relationship with OSHA. The organizations expect the agreement to promote employers’ compliance with new and existing laws administrated by each administration.

Some elements of the new deal include providing employees and employers with information regarding compliance assistance, cross-training of both agencies’ staff, sharing valuable and appropriate information when necessary and working together to conduct joint investigations when needed.

“Our agencies share a common purpose of helping ensure proper working conditions and benefits for workers in New York,” said Robert Kulick, OSHA Regional Administrator. “Working together and sharing resources to achieve that common purpose makes sense.”




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