What is a Compensable Injury Under Florida’s Workers’ Compensation Laws?
Florida’s workers’ compensation laws provide assistance to employees who are injured on the job. Workers’ compensation provides financial support until the employee is able to return to work. It also pays for medical treatment for workplace injuries and illnesses. Workplace accidents do happen; therefore, it is important that you understand your rights under our workers’ compensation laws. An experienced Boca Raton workers’ compensation attorney can help you receive the benefits you are entitled to collect when you are injured at work.
Defining a Compensable Injury
Even though our workers’ compensation laws are defined by statute, the courts must sometimes clarify the law or make decisions based on conflicting interpretations of the law. A recent Florida court case clarified the definition of a compensable injury.
In Babametovic v. Scan Design Florida, Inc., an employee injured his back when he was lifting boxes at work. After reporting the accident to the employer, the employee was treated at an urgent facility as directed by the employer. The doctor at the urgent care facility referred the employee to another medical provider. A month later, the employee was treated by a second physician.
This physician elaborated on the diagnosis provided by the first physician and stated that the back injury was related to the employee’s job. However, the physician then sent a letter to the employer stating the injury was only 40% related to employment. The remaining 60% was due to a preexisting condition. Based on the second physician’s statement, the employer’s workers’ compensation carrier denied the claim. The employee requested a one-time change in authorized physicians but the employer denied the request.
A Judge of Compensation Claims (JCC) reviewed the case and rule in favor of the employer stating the need for medical care was not a result of a workplace injury. The JCC based the decision on the physician’s statement that less than half of the total injury was due to a workplace injury. Therefore, the injury was not a compensable injury as defined by Florida’s workers’ compensation laws.
What Did the Appellate Court Say About Compensable Injuries?
The First District Court of Appeals agreed with the JCC that a compensable injury must occur before an employee is entitled to receive workers’ compensation benefits. The appellate court disagreed with the JCC’s finding that a compensable injury had not occurred. The appellate court stated that a compensable injury is defined by the harm that results from an injury incurred during the employee’s normal scope of employment. Because nothing in the record stated the back injury was due to anything other than a work-related accident. Therefore, the JCC should have ruled that the employee suffered a compensable injury.
Determining whether you have a compensable injury may be difficult if the insurance company for your employer is trying to deny your claim. If your workers’ compensation claim has been denied, it is in your best interest to consult with an experienced Boca Raton workers’ compensation lawyer. Simply because your employer or its insurance carrier does not believe you have a compensable injury it does not mean you do not have a valid claim. An attorney can be of great assistance in ensuring you receive the benefits you deserve.
Have You Been Hurt on the Job?
The workers’ compensation lawyers of The Broderick Law Firm, P.L. have the experience, knowledge, and skill you need to protect your right to receive compensation for your workplace injury. Contact our office today to schedule your free consultation.