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The Emma Murray Decision and Your Rights to Florida Workers’ Compensation Benefits

The Florida Legislature attempted to limit your ability to find a workers compensation attorney by limiting the payment of attorneys fees to Florida workers’ compensation attorneys, like Nancy Cavey, when it rewrote the attorney fee provisions of 440.34 in the 2003 legislative session.

Florida workers compensation attorneys, like Nancy Cavey, were paid attorneys fees if they successfully obtained workers compensation benefits at the expense of the workers’ compensation carrier based on one of two methods… The first method allowed a workers’ compensation attorney to be paid based on the hours they worked which were related to the benefits they got for the injured Florida worker. The other method was to pay the workers’ compensation attorney, a percentage, based on the value of the benefit secured. In other words, if a workers’ compensation lawyer like Nancy Cavey, obtained of an MRI that your doctor recommended which cost $1000, her fee would be 10% of $1000 or $100. If she spent 10 hours getting that benefit, Nancy Cavey would be paid $200 an hour or $2000.

It was a field day for Florida Workers Compensation carriers to wrongfully deny workers compensation medical and money benefits to injured for workers. The workers’ compensation carrier’s knew it would be difficult to for you to find a lawyer who could afford to represent you.

The Florida legislature attempted to limit attorneys fees to the value of benefit secured. Obviously, a workers compensation hearing attorney would find it very difficult to practice and pay billsĀ  if the fees were limited to the value of benefits secured. As a practical matter, many workers’ compensation attorneys left the practice or developed other practices.

The Florida Supreme Court entered a blockbuster decision on October 23, 2008 on the workers’ compensation attorney’s fees provisions of the 2003 workers compensation statute in Emma Murray v. Mariner Health, 33 Fla. L. Weekly S845. Click to read the decision. http://www.floridasupremecourt.org/decisions/2008/sc07-244.pdfs

The Murray decision made it clear at the Florida legislature had not properly defined “reasonable attorneys fee” in a 2003 legislation. The court found that Florida workers’ compensation attorneys should be paid based on hours worked and not benefits secured. This is a great decision for the injured workers’ of Florida, who will now be able to find an attorney who can afford to represent them and in their Florida workers compensation claims.

If you have questions about your rights to Florida workers compensation benefits, please contact Tampa Bay area workers compensation attorney Nancy Cavey.

Thank you, Ms. Murray!

Answering these broad-based questions isn’t easy. Help is a phone call away. You can contact Nancy Cavey, an experienced long-term disability attorney at 727-894-3188.