The statute of limitations in Florida workers’ comp cases applies to all workers’ compensation claims involving injuries after 1/1/94.
Under the Florida Workers’ Compensation Act, there is an initial two-year statute of limitations, followed by a one year statute of limitations. The initial two-year statute of limitations requires the injured worker to either receive authorized medical or indemnity benefits, or file a Petition for Benefits seeking appropriate benefits, within two years of the date of their work comp accident. Thereafter, the statute of limitations in Florida workers’ comp cases is converted to a one-year statute of limitations. This means the individual must never allow a year or more to pass without receiving treatment from an authorized provider. A provider is only authorized if he or she has been specifically approved by the workers’ compensation insurance company to provide treatment for the injured worker in the context of a particular case. An individual is not permitted to receive treatment from a provider who is not authorized. If the individual allows a year or more to pass without receiving treatment from an authorized provider, the case will be closed through the Statute of Limitations. This means that any right to future money benefits or medical treatment would be extinguished, and the claimant would be left with no further workers’ compensation rights or benefits.
It is for this reason that it is best for an injured worker to make certain he/she does now allow even six months to pass without receiving treatment from an authorized provider. In that way, there would be no risk of having the Statute of Limitations run. Authorized medical treatment can mean authorized prescription medications. For a more thorough discussion of prescription medications and the statute of limitations, please see our prior blog post here.
If you are an injured worker, and have a question about the statute of limitations in Florida, contact us for a free consultation. While the information above lays out the general rule, there can be countless variations on facts that impact different situations. Therefore, it is advisable to seek an opinion from a work comp attorney in Tampa to discuss your particular case.
Statute of Limitations in Florida Workers’ Comp Cases
The Florida Statute addressing the Statute of Limitations in Florida Workers’ Comp Cases is below:
440.19 Time bars to filing petitions for benefits.—
(1) Except to the extent provided elsewhere in this section, all employee petitions for benefits under this chapter shall be barred unless the employee, or the employee’s estate if the employee is deceased, has advised the employer of the injury or death pursuant to s. 440.185(1) and the petition is filed within 2 years after the date on which the employee knew or should have known that the injury or death arose out of work performed in the course and scope of employment.
(2) Payment of any indemnity benefit or the furnishing of remedial treatment, care, or attendance pursuant to either a notice of injury or a petition for benefits shall toll the limitations period set forth above for 1 year from the date of such payment. This tolling period does not apply to the issues of compensability, date of maximum medical improvement, or permanent impairment.
(3) The filing of a petition for benefits does not toll the limitations period set forth in this section unless the petition meets the specificity requirements set forth in s. 440.192.
(4) Notwithstanding the provisions of this section, the failure to file a petition for benefits within the periods prescribed is not a bar to the employee’s claim unless the carrier advances the defense of a statute of limitations in its initial response to the petition for benefits. If a claimant contends that an employer or its carrier is estopped from raising a statute of limitations defense and the carrier demonstrates that it has provided notice to the employee in accordance with s. 440.185 and that the employer has posted notice in accordance with s. 440.055, the employee must demonstrate estoppel by clear and convincing evidence.
(5) If a person who is entitled to compensation under this chapter is mentally incompetent or a minor, the limitations period is tolled while that person has no guardian or other authorized representative, but the period shall begin to run from the date of appointment of such guardian or other representative, or in the case of a minor, if no guardian is appointed before the minor becomes of age, from the date the minor becomes of age.
(6) When recovery is denied to any person in a suit brought at law or in admiralty to recover damages for injury or death on the ground that such person was an employee, that the defendant was an employer within the meaning of this chapter, and that such employer had secured compensation of such employee under this chapter, the limitations period set forth in this section shall begin to run from the date of termination of such suit; however, in such an event, the employer is allowed a credit of his or her actual cost of defending such suit in an amount not to exceed $250, which amount must be deducted from any compensation allowed or awarded to the employee under this chapter.
The above statute can be found here.