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Workers’ Compensation Case May be Subject to Time Frame – Limith v. Lenox on the Lake

hospitalIf you were injured at your workplace, you may be entitled to compensation for the harm you’ve suffered. Workers’ compensation cases can be complicated to navigate, and having the right attorney on your side can make all the difference.

In the case of Limith v. Lenox on the Lake, a worker was injured in a workplace accident while working for an assisted living community in South Florida known as Lenox on the Lake. The worker subsequently filed a Petition for Benefits (PFB) in 2011. Under Florida law, a PFB is the document that starts the lawsuit. The PFB contains the disputed issues and is filed with the workers’ compensation court system.

A Judge of Compensation Claims (JCC) reviewed the petition and then dismissed it but reserved jurisdiction over the employee’s claim for legal fees and costs. In 2013, the JCC denied the employer’s request to dismiss the employee’s claim for lack of prosecution. Florida Statute Section 440.25(4)(i) allows a judge to dismiss a PFB for lack of prosecution if there has been no recorded activity in the prior 12 months.

The employer claimed that the JCC made an error in denying the employer’s motion to dismiss the case for lack of prosecution. The Florida Appellate court agreed. The 1st District Court of Appeals ruled that, despite the permissive language of the Florida Statute, which states that a judge “may” dismiss a claim for failure to prosecute after one year of inactivity , the law imposes a compulsory duty on the judge to dismiss the claim if no “good cause” is shown for the claim to sit idle. Specifically, the court explained that the word “may” had to be examined in context along with the rest of the section, which references “good cause shown.”

The appellate court ruled that the JCC had committed reversible error and remanded the case with instructions for the JCC to determine whether the claimant could show good cause. If no good cause is shown, the JCC should grant the employer’s motion to dismiss the pending claims for fees and costs.

This ruling is a departure from previous Florida rulings and demonstrates the importance of taking action sooner rather than later. This is because if you have an inactive case in which a PFB was dismissed with a reservation of jurisdiction for fees, the opposing party may have the claim dismissed for lack of prosecution.

If you or someone close to you has been injured at work, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. At the Law Offices of Robert Dixon, our skilled Miami injury attorneys have helped many South Florida clients resolve their workers’ compensation claims. This is a complex and nuanced area of law, which is why it is advisable to work with an attorney who understands what he or she is doing. We will determine your legal rights and options and advise you accordingly. For more information, contact us online or call us today at 1-877-499-HURT (4878) for a free, confidential consultation.

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