Workers' Compensation Laws Are Denying Care for Exposure Cases

September 25, 2008 by Randy Zeldin

Many workers in the South Florida region, from Deerfield Beach to Boynton Beach, are injured due to exposure to toxic chemicals or substances at work. Virtually all workers, from construction workers to secretaries, can be regularly exposed to chemical substances which result in injury. The current workers' compensation law places very high levels of evidence in order to obtain medical care and other benefits. Specifically, an injured worker must prove the exact substance by name which caused the exposure! This is often impossible or unduly expensive to prove. Further, the worker must prove the mathematical level of exposure!

This unrealistic burden has led to many cases of chemical exposure being denied by the Courts. In one recent case, Matrix Employee Leasing v. Pierce, a worker suffered from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The Judge of Compensation Claim denied all benefits, because the poor worker couldn't prove with medical evidence the exact chemical exposure or level of exposure. As a result, the Court shut down his medical care.

The law office of Randy Zeldin has represented many workers who were injured by chemical exposures, in Broward and Palm Beach Counties. Gov. Christ and the Florida Legislature must re-examine the current state of the law, so that benefits are obtainable by workers who need the medical care.

Americans and South Floridians Die Waiting for Social Security

September 16, 2008 by Randy Zeldin

Across the U.S., 765,000 Americans, including applicants from Boca Raton and Deerfield Beach, are waiting for a Social Security hearing! The outcome is that some applicants literally die before they get benefits. There have been tragic reports of suicide.

According to Boca Raton and Deerfield Beach Social Security Attorney, Randy Zeldin, the terrible backlog is not because of fraud or lack of entitlement for benefits. Instead, it is mostly due to the failure of the U.S. Congress to properly fund the Social Security Administration. Administrative Law Judges and their staff are overwhelmed with cases. Waiting times for hearings in Palm Beach and Broward Counties can be as much as 2 years.

Recently, the Social Security Administration has hired 189 administrative law judges and support staff. The House Ways and Means Committee will be conducting hearings shortly on this important problem.

Palm Beach, Broward and Dade Judges of Compensation Claims Highly Rated

September 8, 2008 by Randy Zeldin

Workers' compensation attorneys throughout South Florida have recently ranked all of the Judges of Compensation Claims. This first time "poll" is the thoughtful innovation of Chief Judge of Compensation Claims, David Langham. The results of the poll, show that a high percentage of the Judges of Compensation Claims throughout South Florida, are doing an excellent job. Some of the Judges with outstanding rankings include Mary D'Ambrosio, Timothy Basquill; Sylvia Medina-Shore and Daniel Lewis, among many others. Chief Judge Langham also received a well deserved excellent review.

Gov. Charlie Christ will have the opportunity to appoint two new workers' compensation judges in Gainesville and Jacksonville. Randy Zeldin, workers' compensation attorney of Boca Raton and Deerfield Beach, is confident that Gov. Christ will make quality appointments from the many distinguished candidates nominated by the Judicial Nominating Committee

Florida Legislature Must Give Choice of Doctors to Injured Workers

September 5, 2008 by Randy Zeldin

There is ongoing talk that the Florida Legislature will meet in Special Session in January 2009, to consider changes to the existing workers' compensation laws. The Workers' Compensation Section of the Florida Bar, has met with Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink to urge that her office conduct a thorough examination of how the workers' compensation law has worked and what modifications should be considered.

In the 2008 Legislative Session, a sweeping bill was introduced by Sen. Alex Villalobos,
(Senate Bill No. 2548), which had some promising reforms. Unfortunately, the bill died in committee and was never considered by the Florida Legislature. One of the most important changes in the Villalobos bill, was regarding choice of physician. Currently, choice and control over the physician, except in managed care cases, is largely with the insurance carrier. The Villalobos bill would have guaranteed that an injured worker would have at least one doctor of his or her choice, as long as the physician was properly licensed and regulated. Randy Zeldin, Esq., with offices in Boca Raton and Pompano Beach, is optimistic that Gov. Christ will be supportive of workers' compensation reform.

South Florida Injured Workers Eligible for Permanent and Total Disability

September 4, 2008 by Randy Zeldin

The Florida Legislature radically reformed the workers' compensation law beginning October 2003. One of the most significant changes was the legal standard for proving that an injured worker could not return to work for life. This concept is called permanent and total disability. Specifically, the law was changed to deny permanent and total disability benefits to any worker physically capable of sedentary employment. This standard has made it so difficult to prove permanent and total disability, that only 33 cases have been successfully litigated since the law was changed!

Fortunately, the appellate courts have stepped in to give some relief to seriously injured workers. Two cases, Walmart v. Thompson and Ferrell Gas v. Childusers, have eased the burden. The judges reasoned that in addition to physical restrictions, the Judge of Compensation Claims can consider vocational testimony. That is, the Court can look at the aptitude, education, job experience and other measurements of an injured workers' ability to find and keep employment. Even if a worker could theoretically perform sedentary work, that doesn't mean that the injured could find, perform or keep such a job.

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