Order Denying Florida Workers’ Compensation Benefits Advance Request is a Final Order for Purposes of Appeal

DSC01130-B morguefile dodgertonskillhauseIn Shannon v. Cheney Bros., Inc., a man suffered a workplace back injury in October 2010. The man’s employer accepted liability for the injury and authorized the employee to seek medical treatment. Later, the employee was involved in a traffic collision that was not related to work. As a result of the accident, the worker suffered additional back harm. Not long after the crash occurred, the man’s doctor stated it was his medical opinion that the employee’s workplace injury was no longer the major cause of his need for medical care. As a result, the man’s employer denied his request for follow-up medical treatment.

Next, the injured worker filed two requests for medical benefits related to his back harm. While his requests were pending, the worker sought an advance workers’ compensation payment. Following an evidentiary hearing before a Judge of Compensation Claims (“JCC”), the man’s request was denied and the worker did not appeal the decision. Several months later, the JCC also denied the employee’s two petitions for medical benefits. The worker then appealed each of the JCC’s decisions to Florida’s First District Court of Appeal.

First, the court stated the worker’s appeal regarding his requested medical benefits was timely filed. Despite this, the appellate court expressed concern regarding whether it had jurisdiction to consider the employee’s request for advance compensation because the man failed to file his appeal within 30 days of the JCC’s decision as required by Fla. R. App. P. 9.180(b)(3).

According to the worker, the court had jurisdiction to review his appeal because the JCC’s order denying his request for an advance was not a final order. The man’s employer agreed and stated it did not contest the First District’s jurisdiction to consider the JCC’s “Final Evidentiary Order.” Although the parties agreed that jurisdiction existed, the court said it had an “independent obligation to assess” whether jurisdiction was proper.

After stating the worker was correct that a non-final order may be reviewed by a Florida Court of Appeal, Florida’s First District held that the JCC’s order was final. The court said it has consistently reviewed orders related to advance payment requests as if they were final. In addition, the court expressly stated an order awarding an advance payment was final in a 2011 case. According to the appeals court, there was no reason to treat an order denying an advance payment request differently than one granting it.

Since the worker did not appeal the JCC’s order denying his request for a workers’ compensation benefits advance within 30 days, Florida’s First District Court of Appeal dismissed the employee’s appeal on that issue. The appellate court also affirmed the JCC’s order denying the employee’s request for medical benefits.

If you were hurt in a Miami workplace accident, you should discuss your rights with a capable attorney. To speak with a knowledgeable personal injury advocate about your eligibility to receive workers’ compensation benefits, give the lawyers at Friedman, Rodman & Frank, P.A. a call at (305) 448-8585 or contact us online.

Additional Resources:

Shannon v. Cheney Bros. Inc., Fla: Dist. Court of Appeals, 1st Dist. 2015

More Blog Posts:

Florida Court Reminds Plaintiffs General Maritime Law Does Not Recognize a Loss of Consortium Cause of Action, February 4, 2015, South Florida Personal Injury Lawyers Blog

Order Providing Discounted Benefits for Pre-Existing Condition Overturned in Florida Workers’ Compensation Case, February 2, 2015, South Florida Personal Injury Lawyers Blog

Photo Credit: DodgertonSkillhause, MorgueFile

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