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Fla. lawmaker introduces bill to make purchase of workers' comp optional

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Fla. lawmaker introduces bill to make purchase of workers' comp optional

Fla. state Rep. Cord Byrd introduced a bill that would make the purchase of workers' compensation insurance optional for employers.

Employers who choose not to buy workers' compensation will be required to notify their employees. The employees will be able to file tort claims against their companies if they suffer injuries at work.

The measure would also allow lawyers and clients to negotiate attorney fees by eliminating provisions that require attorney fees to be reviewed by judges of compensation claims. The bill also would require employers and carriers to pay double the original amount if they fail to pay valid claims within 30 days.

Florida's workers' compensation rates increased by 14.5% on Dec. 1, after the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation filed an appeal against a court order that blocked an increase in workers' compensation premiums.