Author: Mark Lee

Florida Workers Compensation Death Benefits

Florida Workers Compensation Death Benefits

Injuries that occur on the job are always unfortunate. I think we can all agree the most unfortunate situation is the worker who suffers an injury with fatal consequences. It happens with some frequency here in Florida. For example, I did a quick search for “worker deaths in Florida” limited to just the last month. The first page was filled with all types of different unfortunate stories:

Construction worker killed by street sweeper in Jacksonville – May 13
Mushroom pallets crush worker to death – June 8
Florida man dies after he was trapped under lawnmower in pond – May 30
Construction worker run over by dump truck – May 18
Florida farm worker dies after complaining of heat exhaustion – May 19

Given the frequency of deaths resulting from workplace injuries, you may ask what benefits are available to the families who have lost a loved one (possibly the breadwinner) in such a tragic situation? The Florida Workers’ Compensation Act provides benefits to workers injured on the job. It also provides for Florida Workers Compensation Death Benefits to eligible survivors of workers who have died because of a work-related injury or illness.

Florida Workers Compensation Death Benefits-Florida Workers Compensation Death Benefits

If a worker dies because of a compensable injury, the eligible dependents are entitled to certain fixed Florida Workers Compensation Death Benefits. The available Florida Workers Compensation Death Benefits (accident dates on or after 10/1/03) are as follows:

  • Compensation up to $150,000
  • Funeral expenses up to $7,500
  • Educational benefits for the spouse

To be a compensable injury, i.e. one that entitles eligible dependents to Florida Workers Compensation Death Benefits, death must result from the accident within one year. If the injured worker does not pass away within one year, Florida Workers Compensation Death Benefits are only awarded if death follows continuous disability and occurs within five years. In death cases resulting from an occupational disease, the death must occur within 350 weeks (6.76 years) from the date of last exposure.

Florida Workers Compensation Death Benefits ; Compensation Benefits

To be eligible for Florida Workers Compensation Death Benefits, an individual must meet both of the following:

(1)must be one of the following: spouse, child, parent, brother, sister, grandchild,  and
(2) that person must have been dependent on the deceased.

What equates to dependency and what money benefits are available to each dependent can be extremely fact specific. Therefore, if you have questions about Florida Workers Compensation Death Benefits, the advisable thing to do would be to speak with an experienced Tampa workers’ compensation attorney regarding the specific facts and circumstances of your case.  Our attorneys would be happy to speak with you about Florida Workers Compensation Death Benefits. To do so, please contact our office for a free consultation.

Concurrent Employment: The Injured Worker With Two Jobs

Concurrent employment is something that comes up quite frequently in Florida workers’ compensation cases. As people have to work two jobs in order to make ends meet, this creates an unfortunate situation when an injury on one job prevents the injured worker from working at the second job.

Correctly calculating the average weekly wage in a Florida workers’ compensation case is extremely important, as it determines the injured worker’s lost wage benefit. When an injured worker has concurrent employment, i.e. two or more jobs in the thirteen weeks leading up to the accident, the wages earned at both jobs may be included in calculating the injured worker’s average weekly wage.

As we have discussed in prior blog posts covering average weekly wage: Under most circumstances, if the individual works substantially the whole of the 13 weeks before the accident, (defined as at least 75% of those 13 weeks), then the average weekly wage is calculated by taking the total earnings total money earned by the claimant during the 13 week period.

This post will focus on how concurrent employment impacts the calculation of an average weekly wage in a Florida workers’ compensation case.

The first issue is whether the second job is considered “covered employment”. Most concurrent employment will be considered covered employment if it is the type of job that subjects the employer to cover employees with workers’ compensation coverage. For example, if the second employer has four or more employees, it is likely covered employment. What is not “covered” concurrent employment are jobs such as hobby businesses, work for small employers (less than 3 employees), side businesses/sole proprietorship by the injured worker, or work as an independent contractor.

Whether the second job is “covered employment” is an extremely important question—if it’s covered employment, the concurrent employment wages go into calculating the average weekly wage. If it’s not covered employment, they do not serve to increase the average weekly wage.

This consequence-either including the concurrent employment wages or not-is extremely important. Most people who work two jobs are doing so because they absolutely have to in order to make ends meet. If that worker is now receiving lost wage benefits only based on the wages for the employer involved in the accident, it can be devastating. Given what’s at stake here, either making ends meet or not, the absolute only silver lining for an injured worker who engaged in non covered concurrent employment is that post injury wages from the non covered employment will not count against the injured worker when offsetting temporary partial disability benefits. The Florida Supreme Court held that where non covered, concurrent earnings are excluded from the determination of the average weekly wage, those same earnings must be excluded in the determination of post recovery earning capacity. (Christian v. Carolina Freigh, 571 So.2d 524 (Fla. 1st DCA 1991) citing Parrott v. City of Ft Lauderdale, 190 So.2d 326 (Fla. 1966). This is a complex idea to get across, so the following hypothetical will demonstrate how the scenario plays out in a situation:

Tampa Work Comp Attorney Concurrent EmploymentBob works for a large company as his first job and works for a screen repair company (with two employees) on nights and weekends. Bob has an injury at his first job. The money he earns repairing screens in the full thirteen weeks before the accident will not be counted towards calculating his average weekly wage.

Bob is given light duty restrictions by his workers’ compensation doctor, with no lifting over 20 pounds. Bob’s first job tells him they cannot accommodate his restrictions, so he is to receive Temporary Partial Disability benefits.

Repairing screens are within his weight lifting restriction, so Bob continues to do that at the same rate he did prior to the accident: on nights and weekends.

In this situation, Bob’s post injury wages will not be offset against his Temporary Partial Disability benefits. Therefore, he will receive the full Temporary Partial Disability benefit and receive his pay from repairing screens.

Now, if we change the hypothetical to reflect the second job was in fact covered employment, the scenario would play out differently. In that scenario, the wages from the second job would be included in calculating his average weekly wage. In this scenario, the average weekly wage would be higher, but Bob’s earnings from the second job would offset his Temporary Partial Disability benefits.

The questions of what is covered employment or whether concurrent employment earnings effect workers’ compensation benefits can be highly complex and are extremely fact-specific. Therefore, you should not rely on the hypothetical above in your case, but rather speak with a workers comp attorney in Tampa regarding your work injury case. If you have a question about concurrent employment or any other workers’ compensation question, contact our office to speak with one of our work injury attorneys for a free consultation.

Preparing for your Social Security Disability Hearing

Preparing for your Social Security Disability Hearing

The first and most important rule of any testimony at your Social Security Disability Hearing: TELL THE TRUTH. A claim for disability at its foundation is; an individual’s condition(s) limit his or her work activities to the point where they cannot do their past work or any other work. It does not mean you are bedridden or are in excruciating pain 24 hours a day. For example, if you say that your pain is a 10/10 all day every day, and nothing can be done to alleviate it in any way, the judge will likely find that is not a credible statement. Similarly, if you describe your work history and make it seem as if you performed jobs/functions that you did not, a vocational expert may find you have transferrable skills based on that incorrect information. Therefore, try to refrain from embellishing severity of conditions, restrictions, or past work. It all has indirect ways of potentially damaging your case.

Disability Hearing - Tampa Social Security LawyersSocial Security has published some information on what happens at the hearing:

  • The Administrative Law Judge explains the issues in your case and may question you and any witnesses you bring to the hearing.
  • The Administrative Law Judge may ask other witnesses, such as a doctor or vocational expert, to come to the hearing.
  • You and the witnesses answer questions under oath. The hearing is informal but is recorded.
  • You and your representative, if you have one, may question any witnesses and submit evidence.

This can be viewed on their website here.

One extremely important component of your testimony is that the judge finds you a credible witness. That means that your testimony is consistent with all the other evidence in your case (the medical records, questionnaires completed in the past, work history, etc).

A person preparing for a Social Security disability hearing should discuss the strategy for the hearing with his or her attorney in advance of the hearing. However, there are essentially four main areas that should be discussed, either through testimony or documentary evidence submitted in advance of the hearing:

  • Your work history and the jobs performed
  • Your education background
  • Your conditions/medical treatment
  • Your daily activities/how your conditions limit those activities

The relevant legal questions in a disability hearing can be answered based on the responses to the above four categories. For a more in depth review of the legal process, i.e. the Five Step Sequential Evaluation process, please do so here.

Ideally, the record should contain most of this information prior to the hearing. Social Security disability hearings are largely won based on the quality of record evidence in the file-which is in there prior to the hearing. As most of the relevant information is (or should be) in the record, the judge may not want to cover everything in detail. Some judges prefer to start asking the claimant questions immediately, whereas others let the claimant’s disability attorney do the bulk of the questioning from the outset. Some hearings can be relatively quick—15 minutes, and some can go on for an hour or so. Every hearing and case is different, so that is where discussion with your Social Security disability attorney will become crucial to your understanding of this process before the hearing.

Our firm of Inverness disability attorneys represent individuals at all stages of Social Security disability claims. We also have office in Tampa, Brooksville, and Inverness. Whether you are looking for a Social Security attorney in Tampa, or a Brooksville Social Security Attorney, we have you covered. Contact our office for a free consultation.

Christopher Smith named to Super Lawyers list for 2015

Christopher Smith Tampa Injury LawyerChristopher Smith was named to the Super Lawyers list in 2015.  Super Lawyers is a rating service by Thompson Reuters of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high-degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The selection process includes independent research, peer nominations and peer evaluations.

Super Lawyers selects attorneys using a patented multiphase selection process. Peer nominations and evaluations are combined with independent research. Each candidate is evaluated on 12 indicators of peer recognition and professional achievement. Selections are made on an annual, state-by-state basis. The Super Lawyer profile for Christopher Smith can be viewed here.

Christopher Smith has dedicated his legal career to assisting Floridians who have been injured at work or are pursuing a claim for Social Security disability.  We are an injury focused law firm that has represented individuals injured throughout West Central Florida. We offer free-in home consultations, and there is never an attorney’s fee due unless we recover on your behalf.

Whether you have been injured on-the-job, injured due to the negligence of another, or are pursuing a claim for disability benefits due to an inability work, we are here to assist you. We believe in a strong attorney-client relationship, where you get to know your attorney and we get to know you. At our firm, our Tampa work comp attorneys will work closely with you through all aspects of your case-from the outset through resolution. We pride our firm on being aggressive, experienced, and accessible.

Late Work Comp Checks and Penalties / Interest

This is a recurring issue in a large number of cases: late work comp checks. The first thing to understand is at what point is it “late”? Also, is it late because of delivery or mail issues? The general rule is the insurance company should have compensation checks postmarked by the last day of the pay period. This does not mean the employer’s pay period, but the pay period of disability benefits set by the insurance company. Once it leaves the hands of the insurance company, the insurance company has fulfilled its obligation. The pay period is generally every two weeks, and most carriers pay on that schedule. There are instances where weekly checks will be sent, or one check for three/four weeks of disability benefits, but that is the exception. Another issue we see with some regularity is when one check will be paid near the beginning of the pay period and the next towards the end, creating a period of about three weeks or so in between checks. In this situation, if it’s within the pay period, it may seem late, but it not legally late. This post will discuss when penalties and interest attach to late work comp checks.


Penalties for Late Work Comp Checks

The second thing to understand is just because the work comp checks are late (postmarked after the close of the pay period), doesn’t mean that penalties attach. Penalties attach when a carrier fails to pay any installment of compensation seven days after it becomes due. Fla. Stat. 440.20(6)(a) states as follows:

late work comp checks - Florida workers compensation(6)(a) If any installment of compensation for death or dependency benefits, or compensation for disability benefits payable without an award is not paid within 7 days after it becomes due, as provided in subsection (2), subsection (3), or subsection (4), there shall be added to such unpaid installment a penalty of an amount equal to 20 percent of the unpaid installment, which shall be paid at the same time as, but in addition to, such installment of compensation. This penalty shall not apply for late payments resulting from conditions over which the employer or carrier had no control.


Interest for Late Work Comp Checks

Interest attaches whenever a payment is not paid when due (no seven day provision). Fla Stat. 440.20(8)(a) states as follows:

late work comp checks - Florida workers compensation(8)(a) In addition to any other penalties provided by this chapter for late payment, if any installment of compensation is not paid when it becomes due, the employer, carrier, or servicing agent shall pay interest thereon at the rate of 12 percent per year from the date the installment becomes due until it is paid, whether such installment is payable without an order or under the terms of an order. The interest payment shall be the greater of the amount of interest due or $5.

Mail or Delivery Issues

Mail Related Issues for Late Work Comp Checks

As noted in Fla. Stat 440.20(6)(a), penalties shall not apply for late payments resulting from conditions over which the employer or carrier had no control. This means if it gets “lost in the mail”, penalties are not due. Another situation which we have seen is when an injured worker moves and does not inform the insurance company. In situations like that, it’s clear the delay was beyond the control of the insurance company. Another issue that takes late payments outside the control of the insurance company is it does not have knowledge it owes benefits. For example, a doctor takes an injured worker completely out of work, but fails to notify the insurance company. Two months go by and benefits are not paid. If the employer or carrier did not have knowledge it owed benefits, the failure to make payment would result from conditions over which it had no control.

While the employer/carrier is excused from paying penalties on late payments resulting from conditions over which it had no control, there is no such excusal for interest on late payments. This is because the two statutes discussed above do not contain the same provisions.  The First DCA has held that because the Legislature has chosen not to provide a mechanism for excusing an employer or carrier from paying interest on late payments of compensation and because interest is not punitive, a JCC may not deny a claim for interest because late payment resulted from conditions over which the employer or carrier had no control. Jones v. City of Petersburg (1st DCA 2010); 1D10-1043.

If you have questions regarding late work comp checks, or any other related question, contact our office to speak with one of our Tampa workers comp attorneys regarding your case. Our firm has been protecting the rights of Florida’s injured workers since 1989. We offer free consultations.




The Claimant’s Burden of Proof; The Causal Connection

A case was decided by the First DCA yesterday that highlights a fundamental concept in Florida workers’ compensation claims: a claimant bears the burden of proof to establish entitlement to benefits and a claimant has the burden to present expert medical evidence establishing a causal connection between the requested benefits and the compensable accident.

florida-work-comp-lawyers-statuteFlorida Statute 440.09(1) sets forth the following: “The employer must pay compensation or furnish benefits required by this chapter if the employee suffers an accidental compensable injury or death arising out of work performed in the course and scope of employment. The injury, its occupational cause, and any resulting manifestations or disability must be established to a reasonable degree of medical certainty, based on objective relevant medical findings, and the accidental compensable injury must be the major contributing cause of any resulting injuries.”

The underlined portions of the statute above highlight a claimant’s burden of proof when seeking benefits—and the claimant will fail to carry his or her burden of proof if there is no expert testimony regarding the connection between the work injury and the requested benefit.

In MBM Corp/Sedgwick CMS v. Archer Wilson, the claimant sustained an accident in October of 2010. The claimant was injured when he fell backwards out of the truck he was unloading, landing on asphalt and striking his head and right shoulder. Only a right shoulder injury was diagnosed, and treatment was authorized by the insurance company for that injury.[1] Four years after the accident, the claimant filed a claim for evaluation of his head/neck. The insurance company denied the request, as it felt that only the shoulder was injured in the accident and it felt the accident was not the major contributing cause of the head or neck condition.

In response to the employer/carrier’s denial of the claim, the injured worker presented testimony from the authorized treating physician. The doctor testified it would be reasonable, assuming that Claimant’s neck had been symptomatic since the date of the accident, for Claimant to have an evaluation to obtain a diagnosis for his neck condition.[2] The doctor was not questioned as to whether there was any possible causal relationship between the compensable shoulder injury and the cervical spine complaints.[3] The judge accepted the doctor and claimant’s testimony regarding the neck, and ordered the evaluation. The insurance company appealed the decision and the 1st DCA reversed the judge’s decision yesterday. The First DCA held that the claimant failed to carry his burden of proof by not establishing the head or neck condition is causally related to the accident.

If you have questions regarding work injuries, or the rights of an injured worker in Florida, contact our office to speak with one of our Tampa work injury attorneys. We offer free consultations, and have been protecting the rights of Florida’s injured workers since 1989. 

[1] MBM Corp./Sedgwick CMS v. Archer Wilson (Fla. 1st DCA) 1D15-2398.

[2] Id.

[3] Id.

The full MBM Corp/Sedgwick CMS v. Archer Wilson decision can be found here.

Job Security and Being Out on Workers Comp

Job Security While Being Out on Workers CompThis is a question we get quite frequently: Can my employer terminate my position while I am out on workers comp? The scenario would be set up something like this: a roofer has an injury and is out for several months according to the opinion expressed by his or her authorized workers’ compensation physician. After two months, his employer informs him he is terminated for economic business reasons. He or she is upset and would like to seek recourse. Unfortunately, there is no provision in the Florida Workers’ Compensation Act that obligates an employer to hold a position open for an injured employee who is out on workers comp. However, the employer/carrier in most situations will have a continuing obligation to pay lost wage benefits while the injured worker is totally or temporarily disabled. Of course, if the employee is terminated FOR exercising his or her rights under the act, he or she may have a claim for coercion under §440.205 or a private cause of action for wrongful termination. However, that is outside the scope of this article. This question deals specifically with the employer’s obligation (or lack of obligation) to hold a job open for an injured worker while he or she is out on workers comp.

Specifically, being “out on workers comp” means being either in a temporary total disability capacity (completely off work) or in a temporary partial disability capacity (having physical restrictions or commonly referred to as “light duty”, and the employer’s inability to accommodate those restrictions).  An employer does not have to keep a job open for an injured worker simply because he or she is out on workers’ compensation. This question can get infinitely more complex when dealing with light duty, and whether the wage loss is attributable to the work injury.

The obvious question is: If I get terminated, will I still be entitled to wage loss benefits from the insurance company? In the vast majority of cases, the answer will be yes, the insurance company will continue to pay either temporary partial disability or temporary total disability benefits until the injured worker achieves a level of overall maximum medical improvement. However, these cases can be very fact specific and vary based on many factors. Therefore, if you have questions regarding entitlement to ongoing benefits while being out on workers comp, or have been terminated, feel free to contact our office to speak with one of our workers comp attorneys in Tampa regarding the facts and circumstances of your workers’ compensation case. We offer free consultations, and have been protecting the rights of Florida’s injured workers since 1989. 

Statute of Limitations in Florida Workers’ Comp Cases

The statute of limitations in Florida workers’ comp cases applies to all workers’ compensation claims involving injuries after 1/1/94.

Under the Florida Workers’ Compensation Act, there is an initial two-year statute of limitations, followed by a one year statute of limitations. The initial two-year statute of limitations requires the injured worker to either receive authorized medical or indemnity benefits, or file a Petition for Benefits seeking appropriate benefits, within two years of the date of their work comp accident. Thereafter, the statute of limitations in Florida workers’ comp cases is converted to a one-year statute of limitations. This means the individual must never allow a year or more to pass without receiving treatment from an authorized provider. A provider is only authorized if he or she has been specifically approved by the workers’ compensation insurance company to provide treatment for the injured worker in the context of a particular case. An individual is not permitted to receive treatment from a provider who is not authorized. If the individual allows a year or more to pass without receiving treatment from an authorized provider, the case will be closed through the Statute of Limitations. This means that any right to future money benefits or medical treatment would be extinguished, and the claimant would be left with no further workers’ compensation rights or benefits.

It is for this reason that it is best for an injured worker to make certain he/she does now allow even six months to pass without receiving treatment from an authorized provider. In that way, there would be no risk of having the Statute of Limitations run. Authorized medical treatment can mean authorized prescription medications. For a more thorough discussion of prescription medications and the statute of limitations, please see our prior blog post here.

If you are an injured worker, and have a question about the statute of limitations in Florida, contact us for a free consultation. While the information above lays out the general rule, there can be countless variations on facts that impact different situations. Therefore, it is advisable to seek an opinion from a work comp attorney in Tampa to discuss your particular case.

Statute of Limitations in Florida Workers’ Comp Cases

Statute of Limitations in Florida Workers' Comp CasesThe Florida Statute addressing the Statute of Limitations in Florida Workers’ Comp Cases is below:

440.19 Time bars to filing petitions for benefits.—
(1) Except to the extent provided elsewhere in this section, all employee petitions for benefits under this chapter shall be barred unless the employee, or the employee’s estate if the employee is deceased, has advised the employer of the injury or death pursuant to s. 440.185(1) and the petition is filed within 2 years after the date on which the employee knew or should have known that the injury or death arose out of work performed in the course and scope of employment.
(2) Payment of any indemnity benefit or the furnishing of remedial treatment, care, or attendance pursuant to either a notice of injury or a petition for benefits shall toll the limitations period set forth above for 1 year from the date of such payment. This tolling period does not apply to the issues of compensability, date of maximum medical improvement, or permanent impairment.
(3) The filing of a petition for benefits does not toll the limitations period set forth in this section unless the petition meets the specificity requirements set forth in s. 440.192.
(4) Notwithstanding the provisions of this section, the failure to file a petition for benefits within the periods prescribed is not a bar to the employee’s claim unless the carrier advances the defense of a statute of limitations in its initial response to the petition for benefits. If a claimant contends that an employer or its carrier is estopped from raising a statute of limitations defense and the carrier demonstrates that it has provided notice to the employee in accordance with s. 440.185 and that the employer has posted notice in accordance with s. 440.055, the employee must demonstrate estoppel by clear and convincing evidence.
(5) If a person who is entitled to compensation under this chapter is mentally incompetent or a minor, the limitations period is tolled while that person has no guardian or other authorized representative, but the period shall begin to run from the date of appointment of such guardian or other representative, or in the case of a minor, if no guardian is appointed before the minor becomes of age, from the date the minor becomes of age.
(6) When recovery is denied to any person in a suit brought at law or in admiralty to recover damages for injury or death on the ground that such person was an employee, that the defendant was an employer within the meaning of this chapter, and that such employer had secured compensation of such employee under this chapter, the limitations period set forth in this section shall begin to run from the date of termination of such suit; however, in such an event, the employer is allowed a credit of his or her actual cost of defending such suit in an amount not to exceed $250, which amount must be deducted from any compensation allowed or awarded to the employee under this chapter.

The above statute can be found here.

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.


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.