A recent study by the Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI) has found that the average cost per claim for injured workers in Florida has been increasing. The costs for outpatient hospital care have been growing in a way that increases medical payments in the average claim. Between 2005 and 2010, the report found, the costs for average payment per service for outpatient care for injured workers in the state increased by an average of ten percent annually.
While many states have fixed amount fee schedules, the WCRI found that Florida uses a percent-of-charge-based fee structure, which may be partly responsible for the rise in costs. However, due to the steadying of other medical costs the medical payments per claim in injured worker cases actually remained stable after 2008, despite the increase in costs for outpatient care.
The WCRI study further found that Florida had a very high speed when it came to reporting on-the-job injuries and that wage replacement benefits did not increase significantly between 2008 and 2011. One interesting factor that the WCRI found is that attorneys more were often involved in Florida workers’ compensation claims. Florida workers’ compensation claims also tended to have higher payments per claim when compared with other states that the WCRI looked at. According to the organization, the study is intended to help Florida’s workers’ compensation system.
What does the study mean for people who are injured on the job in Homestead and other communities? Rising costs are not news for patients in the state. Employees who have sustained a serious injury, such as a head injury in Homestead, can expect to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical costs. In fact, a serious, permanent head injury or spinal cord injury in Homestead or another Florida city can cost more than $100 000 in medical care alone in the first year of treatment. Patients who have sustained this type of serious injury often cannot return to work and may require at-home care for the rest of their lives. This care combined with loss of income could end up costing more than a million dollars over the course of a lifetime, in some cases.
All too often, workers’ compensation in Homestead and other communities does not cover these full costs for workers who have suffered a serious and permanent injury. These cases can lead to insurance disputes in Homestead as well as a lot of distress for injured employees.
The lack of support is one reason why many injured workers turn to personal injury attorneys in Homestead or their cities. A good lawyer can help with the insurance claims process and can help a worker find other legal options for pursuing fair compensation. If negligence played a role in the injury, pursuing a personal injury claim against a third party can help an injured worker get compensation for lost wages, medical costs, long-term medical bills, incidental injury costs, pain and suffering, and more.
Have you been injured at work? Before you decide to accept workers’ compensation, consider contacting Flaxman Law Group for a free, no obligation consultation of your case. You can get an analysis of your options as well as information about how much your case may be worth.