Month: December 2015

New Case on Cash Advances in Florida Work Comp Cases

A case came down from the First District Court of Appeal today that clarifies a timeliness issue when it comes to requests for cash advances in Florida Work Comp Cases. We have discussed Cash Advances in Florida Workers’ Compensation Cases in detail in a prior blog post. To order an advance, a Judge of Compensation Claims must determine whether the claimant falls into one of three categories:

(1) claimants who have not “returned to the same or equivalent employment with no substantial reduction in wages”;

(2) claimants who have “suffered a substantial loss of earning capacity”; or

(3) claimants who have suffered a “physical impairment. § 440.20(12)(c)(2)

cash advances in Florida Work Comp CasesThis claimant must also show a connection between the indebtedness and the work injury. In the case that came down today, Mathis v. Broward County School Board, Case 15-2342, the judge denied the advance because there was no connection between being behind in bills and the work injury because the claimant was already behind in her bills when she made her request for an advance. The District Court of Appeal held:

“[U]nder the facts presented here, even if Claimant had returned to work immediately after making her request on March 25th, she was still without wages from March 17th through March 25th. Furthermore, Claimant, in reality, continued to experience a loss of wages from March 25th, the date of her request, through April 15th, the date she returned to work. Because Claimant’s indebtedness could only grow worse due to her loss of wages, the requisite nexus exists between the need for an advance and the workplace injury.”[1]

The facts of this case address a common issue. There is a connection between the work injury and loss of income/indebtedness at a time PRIOR to making the request for advance, but NOT AT THE TIME the advance is requested. In my opinion, the DCA has made a common sense connection that the work injury caused the indebtedness, and even if the connection does not exist currently, the work injury certainly started or contributed to the indebtedness the claimant has at the time the request is made and that connection does not immediately end just because the individual goes back to work full duty.

Florida Workers' Compensation Lawyers

If you have questions regarding cash advances in Florida Work Comp Cases or other workers’ compensation matters, please do not hesitate to reach out to one our work comp attorneys in Tampa, Florida. Our firm represents injured workers in Hillsborough and surrounding counties in West Central Florida. The firm has been fighting for the rights of injured workers since 1989; put our experience to work for you by calling for a free consultation at 813-931-1145.

[1] https://edca.1dca.org/DCADocs/2015/2342/152342_DC13_12182015_084554_i.pdf

Florida Workers’ Compensation Mileage Reimbursement Rate

Florida Workers’ Compensation Mileage Reimbursement Rate

Injured workers in Florida who receive authorized medical services through their Workers Compensation carrier are entitled to be compensated for mileage incurred going to and from hospital, therapy center, authorized medical appointments and to pharmacies. A common question we receive is: what is the Florida Workers’ Compensation Mileage Reimbursement Rate ? The answer is there is no reimbursement amount set in stone, but the typical Florida Workers’ Compensation Mileage Reimbursement Rate utilized by most carriers is .445 cents per mile. Prior to 2006, the typical rate utilized was 29 cents per mile. Effective July 2006, the rate utilized by most workers’ compensation insurers changed to .445 cents per mile, which was driven by the amendment of Florida Statute 112.061(7)(d) and the informational bulletin below. The informational bulletin addressing this matter can be found here, but the relevant text is below:

“Pursuant to Bulletin #163A issued by the Florida Department of Labor and Employment Security, Division of Workers’ Compensation on September 1, 1994, medical mileage reimbursement for workers’ compensation claimants was tied to the state travel provisions of section 112.061(7)(d), Florida Statutes.

Florida Workers' Compensation Mileage ReimbursementIn 1964, the Florida Supreme Court held in Mobley v. Jack & Son Plumbing, 170 So.2d 41 (Fla. 1964) that section 440.13, Florida Statutes, which requires the employer to furnish the claimant with “remedial treatment, care, and attendance” for as long as the injury requires, included costs of transportation for medical treatment. In 1977, through Chapter 77-290, Laws of Florida, the legislature added a provision to section 440.13, Florida Statutes, expressly authorizing medical
mileage. In 1993 the legislature through Chapter 93-415, Laws of Florida, deleted that provision. In 1996, the Florida First District Court of Appeal in Sam’s Club v. Bair, 678 So.2d 902 (Fla. 1st DCA 1996) concluded that the omission did not abrogate the judicial construction in Mobley and its progeny that section 440.13(2)(a), Florida Statutes, implicitly authorizes such costs. Effective July 1, 2006, section 112.061(7)(d), Florida Statutes, was amended to increase the
reimbursement rate for state travel to forty-four and one-half cents per mile. For employer/carriers that utilize the statutory reimbursement provisions of section 112.061(7)(d), Florida Statutes, as a basis for the amount of medical mileage reimbursement, you are hereby notified of the amended statutory reimbursement amount of forty-four and one-half cents per mile.”

There have been cases where a claimant has alleged he/she is entitled to reimbursement at the prevailing IRS rate, and a Judge of Compensation Claims has accepted that claim and ordered a higher reimbursement rate. However, there has been no appellate direction from the District Court of Appeal in this regard.

Florida Workers' Compensation Lawyers

If you have questions regarding workers’ compensation, please do not hesitate to reach out to one our workers’ compensation attorneys in Tampa, Florida. Our firm represents injured workers in Hillsborough and surrounding counties in West Central Florida. The firm has been fighting for the rights of injured workers since 1989; put our experience to work for you by calling for a free consultation at 813-931-1145.