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Sunday, August 31, 2014

Commentary: Florida court ruling may force closer look at workers’ comp

Today's article is shared from

On Aug. 13, a Miami-Dade County Circuit Court judge declared that the state’s workers’ compensation system is unconstitutional and an inadequate alternative to allowing workers to take their employers to court for injuries and illnesses caused by employers’ negligence or, as is too often the case, reckless indifference to health and safety (“Workers’ Compensation Act declared unconstitutional,” Aug. 17). Many injured workers I have interviewed over the past decade would never have thought they would see the day when a court finally said that the emperor has no clothes.
For the past century, workers’ compensation systems have been the exclusive remedy for workers hurt or made ill on the job in almost every state, meaning that workers are not allowed to go to court. At best, workers’ compensation was always a compromise. Workers were supposed to receive modest but guaranteed and timely partial wage replacement payments and medical care in exchange for giving up their right to sue employers for any negligent actions that led to their injuries. Employers gained a “risk management” strategy exchanging unpredictable lawsuits for the obligation to insure workers against all work related injuries regardless of the cause of injury. But many labor leaders have been less than impressed with this so-called “grand bargain” between workers and employers.
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