It’s no surprise that the business interests of Florida, including the theme parks, have stacked the deck in their favor when it comes to how the law treats injured workers in Florida. For workers injured at Florida theme parks, the law is not on their side. That’s because Florida’s workers’ compensation law was re-written by insurance and big business industry lobbyists in 2003. Gov. Jeb Bush and the Republican-controlled Legislature approved a 182-page rewrite of the state’s workers’ compensation laws that increased some benefits, but cut many others. The law gave businesses a great deal more protection from lawsuits by workers than ever before. Although the law’s stated purpose was to reduce costs, it did so at the expense of Florida’s hard-working families.
Because of these changes, the families of the Disney monorail driver killed in July 2009 and the SeaWorld trainer that drowned earlier this year may not ever be able to receive justice for the loss of their loved ones – even if Disney and SeaWorld were clearly at fault. As pointed out in the article, federal regulators cited Disney with a “serious” safety violation and “noted multiple monorail-policy lapses” and found SeaWorld’s safety violation to be “willful”. Even with these findings, Disney and SeaWorld may not have much to worry about since our state laws protect them at the expense of the families of deceased workers. We can all agree that frivolous lawsuits are bad for society, but do these cases sound “frivolous” to you? Tell us what you think.