The Florida Supreme Court accepted jurisdiction in Stahl v. Hialeah Hospital. The state’s highest court will consider whether Section 440 of Florida’s workers’ comp statute is constitutional in light of changes to the benefit structure for permanent partial disability and other medical benefits made in 1994 and 2003 amendments to the law. According to a post from the Miami-based law firm Neret & Finlay, the first issue in Stahl v. Hialeah Hospital is a $10.00 co-payment on medical care after reaching maximum medical improvement. The second issue is the elimination of permanent partial disability benefits.
Neret & Finlay explain: “The argument was that the requirement to pay the $10.00 co-payment and the elimination of the PPD, makes the Workers’ Compensation Law an inadequate exclusive remedy for a tort action. The First District Court of Appeal found that there was a rational basis to require the $10.00 co-pay as the co-pay provision furthers the legitimate stated purpose of ensuring reasonable medical costs. In addition, the Court found that the PPD benefits were supplanted by Impairment Income Benefits and thus the elimination of such benefits also met the rational basis test.”
Florida’s Supreme Court will be the first to weigh in on the benefit-erosion constitutionality questions that have arisen across several states, including here in Louisiana.
Access the First District Court of Appeal decision and the Supreme Court order below. Read more about the case from David DePaolo here.