Florida ranks eighth in the nation for workers’ compensation payouts. Here in Florida, where Harrell and Harrell is based, total workers’ compensation payout ranks a respectable eighth in the nation, according to a recently released report by the National Academy of Social Insurance. But the news isn’t all good. Data shows that nationwide it’s getting pricier for businesses to provide workers compensation coverage to employees and as a result, benefits are on the decline. The report shows that workers’ compensation benefits, as a percentage of payroll, dropped in 39 states between 2009 and 2013. Experts point to two primary reasons – one positive, the other less so. “The decline is due to a drop in workplace injuries as well as changes in many state laws that made it more difficult for workers’ to qualify for benefits,” says John F. Burton, professor emeritus of Rutgers and Cornell University, who served on the data study panel. “These state laws include more stringent compensation rules, the reduction of coverage for certain medical diagnoses and new legal requirements that make it more difficult for workers to succeed in their claims for benefits.” On average, injured workers received 98 cents per $100 of covered wages while employers paid $1.37 per $100 of covered wages. Plus, while benefits paid per $100 of covered wages decreased in 39 jurisdictions, employers’ costs for workers’ compensation insurance per $100 of covered wages increased in 27 jurisdictions. Here in Florida, workers’ compensation premium rates currently are 58 percent lower than they were in 2003 and the National Council on Compensation Insurance recently proposed a 2.2-percent decrease in premiums throughout Florida. If approved, the new rates would become effective January 1, 2016. In any case, know that your employer is legally required to provide you with a safe workplace where the risk of injury or illness is minimized. If you do suffer a workplace-related injury or illness, you are entitled to fair compensation. Report it, get medical treatment and call 800-251-1111 to speak with a workers compensation attorney with Jacksonville’s Harrell and Harrell.