Dolman Law Group is an award winning Clearwater car accident and personal injury law firm. Matthew Dolman has been selected as a Florida Super Lawyers in 2013, 2014 and 2015 by his colleagues. Mr. Dolman has been nominated as a top 100 trial attorney and top 40 under 40 by National Trial Lawyers. He is a lifetime member of both the Million Dollar and Multi-Million Dollar Advocacy Forum.
In the past, anyone who had a Florida Workers Compensation
case would likely find it very challenging to obtain legal representation
unless they had the means to pay attorney’s fees. If a person is injured, and
can’t work, their ability to pay would likely be diminished.Recently, however, the Florida Supreme Court
ruled that a person involved in a worker’s compensation claim will no longer be
responsible for paying legal fees.
Florida Labor Law specifies that a worker’s compensation
lawyer is only awarded a percentage of any compensation claim. As an example an
attorney who represented a man who was injured on the job, was awarded a
pittance of just over $164.00 for over 100 hours of work. It is simple math to
determine that is $1.64 per hour, or approximately one fifth of Florida’s
current minimum wage. The Supreme Court ruled that this fee structure was
unconstitutional, as it hindered an injured worker’s ability to get legal
A City of Englewood police officer, Martha Miles, was
injured on the job by accidentally inhaling methamphetamine fumes. The exposure
to the fumes rendered her unable to work because of the aggravation of her
asthma. She filed a worker’s compensation claim but was unable to find an
attorney to represent her for the fees allowed under the worker’s compensation
statute. Miles was forced to represent herself at trial.
At the trial Miles presented several affidavits from
attorneys who indicated that they would not represent her in a worker’s
compensation case under the constraints of the fee structure. She was also
unable to prove her case before the Court of Compensation Claims according to
her attorney Michael Weiner.
Miles challenged the constitutionality of sections 440.105
and 440.34 of Florida Statutes which limit attorney fees. In the case filed in
the First District Court of Appeal of Florida, case number 1D15-165, she argued
that the provisions of the statute infringe on her First Amendment rights
protected under the United States Constitution.
It was determined that the law violated workers guarantee of
freedom of speech and associations by the Appeals Court. In addition, it blocks
workers from retaining legal counsel.
This decision was not favored by the insurance industry as
it was speculated that it could lead to higher claims costs, a rate increase
and additional litigation. To injured workers, however, it offers the peace of
mind knowing that their worker’s compensation claims will not be denied due to
the fact that they were unable to afford an experienced labor attorney.
Workers compensation is in place to ensure that anyone
injured while performing their job, will receive money to live on until the
time they are able to return to work. Difficulties arise with injured workers
claims due to the fact that private insurance companies are responsible for
paying the claims. The insurers have claims adjusters and lawyers whose
motivation is to save money for the insurance company. These are professionals
who are highly skilled and experienced. Without a worker’s compensation attorney,
the average person is greatly out gunned in the battle for the compensation
that they really deserve.
Dolman Law Group
Dolman Law Group has successfully represented countless
Florida residents with their worker’s compensation claims. If you were injured
on the job, speak with a skilled worker’s compensation attorney at Dolman Law
Group. Call today at 727-451-6900. It will cost you nothing for a confidential
evaluation of your claim.
Dolman Law Group 800 North Belcher Road Clearwater, FL 33765 727-451-6900