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Florida’s workers compensation statute is self executing?

Florida statute section 440.015 states that “It is the intent of the Legislature that the Workers’ Compensation Law be interpreted so as to assure the quick and efficient delivery of disability and medical benefits to an injured worker and to facilitate the worker’s return to gainful reemployment at a reasonable cost to the employer”.This section of the law goes on to states specifically “an efficient and self-executing system must be created which is not an economic or administrative burden.”

So a few questions automatically arise; what does this mean and why do injured workers and insurance companies hire attorneys?

The answer to these questions cannot be answered in just one blog, however I will attempt to address these queries in this and the next few blogs to follow. Self executing means, as indicated in the statute, that the Florida Workers Compensation Law was enacted to “ensure the prompt delivery of benefits to the injured worker” .

So why do injured workers hire lawyers? Why are there so many advocates throughout this State fighting for benefits on behalf of those injured in the course and scope of their employment?

One reason these individuals come to my office is their claim has been denied. Employers and their insurance carriers deny workers compensation claims for a variety of reasons.  Many clients come to our office with a claim that has been denied  where there has been absolutely no investigation by the insurer whatsoever! Others with denials that have no basis under the applicable law   and/or no basis under the factual circumstances. These injured workers need the advice of legal counsel in order to properly asses whether their claim denial was valid. If not, then we seek “compensability” of  their claim from the insurance carrier, and if necessary, take this matter to a Judge of Compensation Claims for a determination.

Compensability is a term used in workers compensation which is somewhat synonymous with “responsibility”. This word describes eligibility or entitlement or capability of being compensated under the applicable workers compensation law. This term can be used to describe the entire claim, or specific medical conditions within a claim.

This is one of the many terms and concepts in Florida workers compensation that may be confusing. Therefore ,if you or a loved one have been injured at work it is a good idea to seek legal advice and counsel regarding your rights under the law.

Feel free to call attorney Ruth E. Johnson for a free consultation.