Compensable Injury Under Florida Workers’ Compensation Law

Orlando, FL – As a leading Orlando Workers’ Compensation Attorney, we strive to provide the public with the latest workers’ compensation information. A few years ago a Florida Court of Appeal clarified the meaning of “compensable injury” under Florida’s Workers’ Compensation Law.

In Babemetovic v. Scan Design Florida, Inc., the plaintiff injured his back while picking up several boxes. The employer authorized the injured worker to get medical treatment at a local urgent care facility. The doctor diagnosed the injured worker with radiculitis stemming. The doctor referred the worker to specialized physician for a more extensive treatment plan.

About a month later, the injured worker visited the referral doctor. According to this doctor, the worker endured a lumbar muscle sprain and a preexisting degenerative disc condition. While the doctor stated that the injuries occurred during the workers’ employment, however he later sent a letter to the employer, which stated that only forty-percent of the injury was work-related. This physician stated that the remaining sixty-percent were due to a pre-existing condition.

The employer’s workers’ compensation insurance company rejected this benefits claim, finding that the accident was not the primary reason he requested treatment. The employer believed that the worker did not incur workplace injuries. The employee, after being denied, asked to have a new authorized treating physician, but the employer denied it.

Next, a Judge of Compensation Claims (JCC) examined the dispute and noted that a worker cannot obtain benefits pursuant to Chapter 440 unless a compensable workplace injury occurred. Then the JCC established that the worker’s physician believed that the back injury was less than half of the total injury. Lastly, the JCC held that the work-related injury wasn’t a major contributing cause (MCC) of the worker’s injury, and as a result the worker’s need for medical care was not the result of the workplace injury.

In the First District Court of Appeals, the worker appealed the JCC’s denial of benefits. The court stated that the Judge of Compensation Claims properly noted that before an injured worker can be granted workers’ compensation benefits, a compensable injury must take place. Then the appellate court held that the JCC was incorrect in determining that no compensable injury had occurred in this case, stating that compensability deals with the injury that resulted from working during the term of the injured worker’s employment. The appellate court concluded that the JCC blended the existence and cause of the injury with the existence and cause of the worker’s need to obtain medical care.

Since there was nothing on record other than the work-related accident having caused the back injury, the appellate court also concluded that the JCC should have concluded that he endured a compensable injury.

Orlando Workers Compensation Attorney Contact Information
If you need help filing a claim, or if your workers’ compensation claim has been denied, contact the Vaughan Law Group’s leading Orlando Workers Compensation Attorney today for your free initial consultation. You can contact Vaughan Law Group at (407) 434-0074.