Florida Supreme Court sides with employees in fee dispute — Business Management Daily: Free Reports on Human Resources, Employment Law, Office Management, Office Communication, Office Technology and Small Business Tax Business Management Daily

Florida Supreme Court sides with employees in fee dispute

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It just became more expensive for employers and their workers’ compensation carriers to handle workplace injuries.

The Florida Supreme Court has ruled that attorneys representing injured workers are entitled to “reasonable attorneys’ fees,” which can far exceed those set by the workers’ compensation statute.

Recent case:
Emma Murray, a certified nursing assistant, hurt herself while helping to lift a patient. Her employer contested her claim, so she hired an attorney to push for benefits. He spent many hours working on her claim and won, but the statutory fee was just $684, or about $8.11 per hour.

The attorney sued, and the Florida Supreme Court said his fee should be $16,000. It said employees who have to fight for benefits are entitled to reimbursement of reasonable attorneys’ fees when they win. (Murray v. Mariner Health, No. SC07-244, Supreme Court of Florida, 2008)

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