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Statute of Limitations is Ruled To Apply After Hiatus from Care

Jan 3, 2011 - News by

Scott V. Berglund of our North Florida/Tallahassee office is pleased to report a big win on behalf of the Palm Beach County School District and insurance carrier F.A. Richard & Associates. Judge of Compensation Claims Timothy M. Basquill in West Palm Beach ruled the statute of limitations expired.

The Claimant was a bus driver who was involved in several accidents over the years involving her shoulder, neck, and lower back. After years of initial litigation, all Petitions were resolved in favor of the School District and the Claimant settled into her palliative medical care with no more indemnity benefits payable.

She abandoned care for her shoulder and neck and pursued care only for her lower back. The authorized treating surgeon eventually notified the Claimant and the Employer/Carrier, that the Claimant’s condition was no
longer related to the industrial accidents, but to the Claimant’s personal degenerative disease in her lower back.

As a result, F.A. Richard & Associates discontinued all medical benefits by filing a Notice of Denial.

The Claimant then secretly went to her own physician for ongoing care for her lower back. She made no request of the Employer/Carrier for care, nor did she file any Petition.

After more than one year from the last authorized visit with the surgeon, the Claimant did file a Petition for authorization of medical care.

It was the Claimant’s position: 1) she had a compensable permanent injury and that as a result, she was entitled to ongoing palliative care in connection with that injury; and, 2) when the Carrier denied further care, she was entitled to seek medical on her own for reasonable necessary care.

Judge Basquill found that once the Employer/Carrier filed the Notice of Denial it was the Claimant’s burden to request medical care, or file a Petition for Benefits, and when she failed to do either, the statute of limitations ran one year from the date of the last authorized visit.

The ruling was not appealed and the files are now closed.

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