For seven years now I
have come to you asking
you to help injured workers and deal with the present day workers
system which we all know isn't working. At least not for the injured
At first I looked to
you in the legislature
in awe, thinking there could be no more noble profession that that of
representing the people. I talked with some of you and I actually
were listening to me. A few of you were, but not many. Little did I
that time that the insurance industry was often referred to as "the
government" of the State of Florida.
As time passed I found
that phrase to be true
in many situations. My faith in the legislature slowly began to dwindle
watched lawmakers cast votes on issues that they knew would hurt the
Not just in comp but in many other issues.
I remember that I was
often told by lawmakers
to be careful what I asked for, meaning that a bill in committee (one
best of intentions) can come out of the legislature totally changed and
sometimes without any of the original language in it. Changed so much
of the good language remained so that the bill had become a bad bill.
During these seven
years, one consistent
thing I have noticed about the legislature is that they are constantly
away from those who cannot represent themselves. They cut comp
Medicaid, Kidscare and any other benefits coming from any group of
citizens that they felt could put up the least resistance. In
poor had become under siege and still are today.
How many more things
can you take from the
Let me give you some
A person gets hurt at work. The employer/carrier refuses to accept
The injured worker could hire an attorney who would only be paid if the
worker went to court and won the case. If the injured worker won,
the employer/carrier was wrong in denying the benefits due to the
Then the brilliant
legislature decided the
way to cut costs in the comp system was to cut claimant attorney
fees but do
nothing to the carrier attorney fees.
Tell me now how can you
cut costs that you
don't have to pay unless you are wrong? In other words the fee is
unless you wrongfully denied benefits. The obvious answer is to make it
difficult or impossible for injured workers to make claims.
After October 2003:
Attorneys can no longer afford to take on comp cases unless they can
reach a settlement or resolve the issues. Workers desparate for a
frequently find themselves in a position of accepting far less than the
allows in order to get anything at all.
Thus the claimant is
left without the
representation he needs to gain benefits. Effectively what the
was to take away the only chance the injured workers had of getting
representation to gain their benefits.
would not be necessary
if the carriers didn't deny legitimate claims. So instead of
the insurers who were the cause of so much litigation, the legislature
easier for the carriers to deny and delay legitimate benefits due.
How does any of this
make sense? I mean, what
were they thinking? No logical mind would come up with this kind of
nonsense. The Florida legislature sure did and now it refuses to take
So here we have an
injured person who is
unable to work, unable to get medical treatment, and who along with the
the family is now a burden to society. There is no way the injured
afford to pay for representation so his claim just goes away.
who really benefits here? It sure isn't the injured worker nor the
will now most likely pick up a lot of the family's expense. Who
You were injured on the
job and have been
sent to all the doctors the carrier has picked for you. You can tell
of the doctors are bought and paid for. You know some are not treating
injury because they have been told to diagnose but not treat.
Others doctors are
willing to treat but can't
because the carrier is refusing to pay for the treatment that the
doctor ordered. Then your carrier decides it doesn't like the diagnosis
doctor came up with (it might cost them money) it sends you on IME
(independent medical exam). This is called doctor shopping and carriers
that claimants do this all the time. Why hasn't anyone ever counted the
the carriers do it?
Because of the IMEs
that are not independent
at all, you need to have your own IME. The problem is that
after 2003, the carriers no longer have to pay for a claimant IME. Who
benefits? Most IMEs fall in the range $300-$800. The
isn't getting treatment, is unable to work, and isn't receiving
benefits. The injured worker may very likely have absolutely no
resources beyond what the carrier is supposed to be providing
afford to personally pay for the care that the carrier is supposed
providing. So he is work-injured and cannot get what he needs to get
What can he do?
If the injured worker
is lucky enough to find
an attorney to represent him, he will become entwined in a legal battle
can take anywhere from 6 months to 5 years depending on the part of the
you are in. In the meantime, he will continue to be work-injured,
stripped and unable to get better. So since you can't afford an IME,
tells you that you will most likely lose the case.
Boooom. They found
another way to make the injured
worker's claim go away. Let's ask again, "Who benefits?"
I could go on with many
other scenarios for
injured workers but I just want to get my point across. In case you
gotten it yet, I am telling you that the legislature is consistently
things that will make the insurance industry, aka "The Shadow
Government" happy. Who cares about a few injured workers? Definitely
the Florida State Legislature. At least not that of the recent past
So I ask YOU.
Is the shadow government still alive and well in the state of Florida?
this legislature continue to ignore the needs of the working person?
of those who did nothing wrong but to get hurt at work? A friendly
advice: please don't get hurt at work in Florida.
Once again I ask this
2007 legislature to
talk with us and do something now about the injustices passed in the
2003 SB 50
A bill. Do the right thing. Seven year has been a long time for me and
injured workers to wait. It is a long time to keep hearing "maybe next
Will you help us in this 2007 session? Will you be different from those
have come before you? Will you protect the people that you have taken
to protect and serve? Will you honor our hard work and constituency
respect and action?
Help us today.
Think I sound a little
bitter? Spend the next
20 years of your life entangled in the workers compensation system and
come back and talk to me.
April 22, 2007