DOAH just put out its annual report, a 300 page analysis of the Fla WC litigation system. The report is instructive not only on how the last year has trended but also the longer term impact of the Castellanos case and claimant attorney hourly fees. This measures the claims from 7/1/2018-6/30/2019.
Here are a few nuggets:
- The overall number of litigated cases was up 4% over last year with 31,751. Since the law change, there has not been a drastic increase in the number of litigated claims, up 6% from 29,870.
- For anyone handling a desk, this will be no surprise. The amount of litigation within each claim has seen a pretty drastic increase. Since the law change, there has been a 22% increase in the number of Petitions for Benefits (PFB) filed from 60,0021 to 73,146. Last year was up 4.1% over the prior year. Each PFB filed over a disputed benefit in a claim triggers a new state-mandated mediation, pretrial hearing and trial, along with the necessary discovery to defend that issue.
- The most commonly litigated issues, in order, are Medical Authorization, Attorney Fees and Temporary Partial Disability.
- South Florida has below average number of new cases per Judge, BUT above average number of PFB’s per Judge. Translation: if it feels there is more litigation in that area on each case, there actually is statistically.
So, it appears litigation per claim continues to increase year after year, and the industry has not yet leveled out after the law change. Our firm continues to look for ways to control the total legal spend for our clients in a continually increasing litigation environment.
Here is a link to the report, but don’t print it unless you want 303 pages.
Please let me know if you have any questions.
Morgan Indek | Managing Partner