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Employer that Fails to Abide by Florida Workers’ Compensation Requirements is Liable for Employee’s Medical Expenses

ambulanceUnfortunately, workplace injuries happen every day in the state of Florida and throughout the United States. If you have been harmed on the job, you should seek the help of an experienced Miami personal injury attorney who can examine the facts of your case and help you seek the compensation you deserve for your injuries. Robert Dixon has years of experience handling a variety of personal injury claims, and he can help you as well.

In Fortune v. Gulf Coast Tree Care, Inc., a Florida appellate court ruled that an employer that had actual knowledge that its employee had been injured on the job was liable for the employee’s medical expenses even through the employee never formally asked the employer to pay for such expenses.

The facts of the case are as follows. The plaintiff worked as a landscaper and was going to a gated community to provide an estimate to a potential client. As he made his way to the client, an individual who lived in the community punched him through the window of his car. The plaintiff suffered a dislocated shoulder and had to be treated at a local emergency room at a nearby hospital. The treating physician advised the plaintiff to obtain follow-up care.

The plaintiff immediately informed his supervisor of the incident. The supervisor came to the scene of assault as well as the hospital. However, the supervisor failed to file a notice of injury, as required under Florida law. The plaintiff started follow-up treatment at the VA approximately two weeks later. The treatment persisted for two months until physicians ordered surgery to repair the damage. Throughout this time, the plaintiff continued to work for the same company.

The insurance company received notice of the plaintiff’s injuries 16 months after he was assaulted. The insurance carrier refused to compensate the plaintiff for his harm, and a hearing was held before a Judge of Compensation Claims (JCC). The JCC determined that the plaintiff was injured within the scope of his employment. Thus, the plaintiff’s employer was responsible for reimbursing the plaintiff for the emergency care as well as future medical care he received for the work-related injury. Regardless of this, the JCC denied the plaintiff’s request for compensation, since the worker failed to request medical care from his employer.

The plaintiff appealed. The court reversed the JCC’s decision, finding a plain interpretation of the law indicated that the supervisor failing to inform the insurer was not a mistake that the employee should be responsible for. Here, the plaintiff’s supervisor was aware of the plaintiff’s injury but did not notify the insurance carrier of the incident in the required legal time frame. Had the employer notified the insurance carrier, the plaintiff would have obtained the statutorily required informational brochures, which have important information about his rights as an employee. Since this did not happen, the worker was entitled to obtain treatment wherever and still be reimbursed for it.

If you or someone close to you has been hurt on the job, you have legal options. Robert Dixon is a highly reputable Miami work injury attorney who has helped countless South Florida clients. We can help assess the merits of your case and help you navigate the legal process. While we aim to resolve each legal issue through a fair and efficient settlement, we are not afraid to fight for you in the courtroom if necessary. To learn all your legal options, do not hesitate to reach out to us. You can contact us online or call us today at 1-877-499-HURT (4878) for a free, confidential consultation.

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