The First District Court of Appeals in Tallahassee seems to have had an epiphany and has declared portions of the Workers Compensation law as amended to be unconstitutional.
WESTPHAL CASE: The law was written to cap temporary total lost wages that injured workers can receive at 104 weeks after the insurance companies lobbied and donated to the Legislature. The Court was faced with a worker who was not recovered from their original injury after 104 weeks were paid and required additional remedial treatment. Court held that the limitation was unwarranted, and reverted back to the last Law limitation of 260 weeks. THIS was a blow to the insurance companies, who have requested and received an “en banc” rehearing, so decision not yet final.
JACOBSEN CASE: Court held that 440.105 (3) (c) is unconstitutional under the Federal Constitution and State Constitution. Left open was whether employer/insurance attorneys must now get their own fees approved by JCC. Claimants can now file criminal complaints against insurance lawyers under strict reading of 440.105(3)(c), it will be interesting to see how the JCCs react to the criminal behavior alluded to in Jacobsen. As it now stands, the JCCs have been unilaterally applying the statute to Claimant Lawyers, despite the plain language of the statute that reads to apply to ALL lawyer fees.