The Statute of Limitations in Florida Workers Compensation Claims

For any accident happening on or after January 1, 1994,  the Statute of limitations (SOL) requires that a petition for benefits must be filed within two years of the date of accident. (note: different rules apply for accidents occurring before January 1, 1994)

If the insurance company or employer pays money benefits or provides medical care for the workers accident and injuries, during the two year period after the date of accident, the deadline for filing of a petition can change, depending on when the money or medical care was provided.

Any medical benefits, or money benefits paid for lost wages or impairment, provided during the first year of the two year period after the date of accident has no effect on the running of the statute of limitations.

However, medical care provided or money paid for lost wages or impairment  in the second year extends the statute of limitations in Florida workers compensation cases.  A petition must be filed within one year of the last day on which medical benefits were provided, or within one year of the last day for which money benefits were paid by the workers compensation carrier or employer for the work injury,  whichever is later.

Example 1:

I.M. Hurt broke his leg on January 1, 2010 and was treated on the day of accident,  March 1, 2010,  September 1, 2010 and also December 31, 2010.  The statute of limitations runs on January 1, 2012 unless a petition is filed on or before before January 1, 2012.

Example 2:

Hifel Down slipped and fell on January 1, 2010 and was treated on the day of accident,  March 1, 2010,  September 1, 2010,  December 31, 2010 and he also returned to the workers compensation doctor for treatment on September 1, 2010.  Hifel Down’s statute of limitations runs on September 1, 2012, or one year after the last day on which he received treatment for his work injuries with the workers compensation doctor.

When a specific petition is filed, the statute of limitations is tolled (suspended) so long as the petition remains pending.  Suppose in Hifel Down’s example, a petition was filed on August 31, 2012,  or one day before the statute would have run.  If his petition is disposed of and no further benefits were provided by the insurance company or employer for the workers compensation injuries before the dismissal of the petition,  the statute of limitations has run.

Certain exceptions to the statute of limitations can apply and the defense can be waived by the insurance company if they do not raise the defense in a timely fashion.  You should consult with a lawyer about the specific facts of your case to determine how you can prevent the statute of limitations from running in your case and to see if there may be any exceptions to the Statute of Limitations barring your rights to benefits.



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