About 100 years ago, a Workers Compensation System was created in the United States with a quid pro quo principle. The employers of injured workers were not liable for general damages such as pain and suffering in exchange for the guarantee of “adequate and reasonable” medical treatment and temporary wage replacement during the period of disability. Over the last twenty years, there has been an erosion of these workers comp benefit systems. Recently, there have been several cases in Florida questioning whether workers compensation benefits are still reasonable and adequate. Claimant attorneys are calling this the “tipping point.” The question remains, how far can employers and insurance agencies reduce and restrict medical aid and wage replacement before the system becomes unconstitutional?
In this episode of Workers Comp Matters, Alan Pierce interviews workers compensation attorney Charles Davoli about what the “tipping point” means, the policies insurance agencies are putting into place, how legislators and laws are changing, and how workers compensation is being affected. Davoli begins by explaining the no-fault workers comp system that was created in order to provide injured workers with medical treatment and wage replacement in exchange for reducing their rights to sue the company. He then describes the erosion, or deform of the benefits and systems over the past twenty years in order for the insurance companies to stay profitable. There has been an increase in benefits for medical versus indemnity, medical fee guidelines, restrictive fee schedules, and peer reviews, all creating what Davoli portrays as a lot of litigious and controversial questions in workers comp. He then discusses the circuit court judgement in the Padgett v. State of Florida case and the 14th Amendment. Davoli’s goal is to bring awareness to the public about cost shifting from the employers to the public via taxpayers and insurance premiums via policyholders. If well informed of this, taxpayers and policyholders alike should be outraged.
Charles Davoli practices with the law firm of Davoli, Krumholt, and Price and is the past president of the Workers Injury Law and Advocacy Group (WILG). WILG is a workers compensation association of claimant attorneys. Davoli has spoken on several occasions focusing on the “tipping point” of where the US is in the hundred year history of the rights of injured workers to get adequately, promptly, and justly compensated.
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