The Florida Supreme Court has declared that Florida’s statutory 104-week cap on temporary disability benefits is unconstitutional, just weeks after invalidating the state’s attorney fee structure for comp cases. The Florida Supreme Court ruled 5-2 in favor of the of the plaintiffs in Bradley Westphal v. City of St. Petersburg, saying cutting off disability benefits after 104 weeks to a worker who is totally disabled and incapable of working but who has not yet reached maximum medical improvement is unconstitutional. The justices opted to revive a previous limitation of temporary disability benefits, upping the limit to five years (260 weeks). This decision comes as Florida Governor Rick Scott is set to tour Louisiana in order to encourage businesses to leave the state because of expected tax hikes under Governor Edwards. NCCI already submitted a 17 percent increase in workers’ comp rates in Florida in response to the attorney fee decision in Castellanos.
Read more about Westphal here.