As a construction boom hit Florida in the 1950s, injuries for workers were skyrocketing within the state. With so many workplace injuries, all of the focus was on the Florida workers’ compensation system. In response, the Special Disability Trust Fund was established, which allowed the settlement to an injured worker in a lump sum. $42.00 per week was the maximum compensation due an injured worker beginning in 1959. The current-day definition of an “accident” was also enacted into this new law.
More assortments of changes to the law were seen during the 1960s. This time can be best described as a period of development of the idea of the law, which had begun in the preceding decades to cover injuries that had never before been covered. The Governmental Reorganization Act of 1969 was established to consider appeals of workers’ compensation cases. These cases would be seen by the Industrial Relations Commission, full-time deputy commissioners, were hired to give a ruling on disagreements between employers and employee
An 18 member commission, the National Commission on State Workmen’s Compensation Laws was put together by the Federal Occupational Safety & Health Act (OSHA) in 1970. This Commission consisted of three cabinet level appointees (appointed by President Richard Nixon) along with representatives of various groups. Its purpose was to determine the fairness and adequacy of state workers’ compensation laws.
While this commission was deliberating, workers’ compensation became mandatory in Florida and multiple changes in the law were made. The governor of the state of Florida in 1974 appointed a task force to update planned changes in the law, a crucial development in the workers’ compensation laws in Florida.
The “Papy Package” was created for legislative reform. This was ultimately passed by the Legislature and singed into law by the governor. The changes seen as a result of these amendments can be best described as liberal, expensive, and unquestionably pro-labor. Even with attempts to reform, premiums increased by 200% between 1974 and 1978. Between the months of June and October, 1974 19,430 claims were filed.