Florida Workers' Compensation law is simply unfair to injured workers. Until last week, an undisputed injured worker would not be entitled to wage benefits despite being totally disabled because of a compensable work comp accident all because he had not reached maximum medical improvement yet. Florida's First District Court of Appeals finally determined that this was unconstitutional in the Westphal v. City of St. Petersburg case.
Westphal was a St. Petersburg firefighter and paramedic who severely injured his back and knee in a workers compensation matter which required spine surgery. While recovering from the compensable spine surgery, Mr. Westphal was no longer entitled to wage benefits because the law capped his temporary wage benefits at 104 weeks. So, although he was incapable of working or obtaining employment because of the workers compensation surgery but had not reached yet reached maximum medical improvement, Mr. Westphal wages ended even though he was not yet eligible for permanent total disability (PTD) benefits.
The Court concluded that this section of the Florida Workers Compensation law was unconstitutional because it limited injured workers to no more than 104 weeks of temporary disability benefits, despite the fact that the injured worker was at that time totally disabled, incapable of engaging in employment, and ineligible for any compensation under Florida' Workers Compensation law for an indeterminate period. As a result, the Court reinstated the TTD/TPD payment limits to 260 weeks until the Legislature again tries to change it.
After being injured in a work accident, it is important that you talk with an attorney who understands the complexities of the Florida Workers Compensation laws. For answers to legal questions after your Florida work comp claim, call Attorney Matthew Noyes at 727-796-8282 or simply click here to schedule a free case consultation.