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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Florida Workers' Compensation Fillings Continue to Decrease

The national trend of far fewer workers' compensation claims is reflected in recent Florida statistics. One must look beyond the statistics and evaluate whether claims are not being filed because they have been regulatorily or statutorily been barred; whether there has been a major decrease in riskier jobs; whether the workplace is actually becoming safer; or whether lawyers are not taking the claims to adjudication because they go uncompensated for their efforts. Perhaps a combination of all. If the claims are not being filing as work related compensable events, where are benefits being sought. One certain path is Medicare and Medicare and Social Security Disability Benefits, especially those with catastrophic injuries Today's post is shared from Judge David Langham and I would encourage to read his entire blog post on his site at: David Langham is the Deputy Chief Judge of Compensation Claims for the Florida Office of Judges of Compensation Claims and Division of Administrative Hearings. 

"Petition filings and new case filings continued to decline last year. Remember, the Florida Office of Judges of Compensation Claims (OJCC)(and the rest of the state) runs on a fiscal year, which begins each July 1 and concludes the following June 30. So, fiscal 2013 ended last summer, and the OJCC has been compiling and preparing statistics and measures since then. It is a long process that includes verification of data that our district staff has entered into the database through the year.

"In 2012-13, 58,041 PFB were filed. In 1995-96 the total PFB filing was 56,298. So, after a significant increase in litigation following the 1994 reforms, PFB volumes are approaching the pre-reform volumes. This is an imperfect comparison. Before the 1993 reforms, "claims" were the operative pleading for identifying the dispute, and jurisdiction of this Office over such disputes was effected by filing an "application for hearing" regarding the claim. With this significant change in 1993, it is difficult to compare filing volumes to periods before 1993.