Workers’ Compensation is based on the compromise that employees gain limited automatic benefits without proving fault in return for giving up their right to sue their employers in court. In Florida, and many other states, the legislature has slowly been eating away at the benefits Florida workers can get. One Florida court held this week that the legislature has gone too far in reducing the benefits available to Florida workers. As a result, the Court found that Florida workers are no longer getting enough to justify giving up their right to sue. This link to a story from Florida has more on the decision: http://www.bradenton.com/2014/08/13/5302285/miami-judge-declares-florida-workers.html
This decision is obviously limited to Florida. However, it should serve as a wake up call to Georgia legislators and business lobbyists that we can go to far in limiting the benefits available to Georgia workers. Since around 1992, there has been a trend of business lobbyists coming down to the legislature each legislative session and demanding more changes to the law to the advantage of employers. If they take too much, they risk breaking the compromise of the Workers’ Compensation system and they might face lawsuits over employee injuries. Hopefully, this decision will make the business lobby think twice about pushing for further changes to the Georgia Workers’ Compensation law. Right now, our law isn’t perfect, but we have not yet gone as far as Florida.