A Petition for Benefits is the primary method to invoke the jurisdiction of the court to resolve disputes in a Florida Workers’ Compensation claim. When there is any dispute regarding benefits owed to an injured worker—either medical and/or lost wage/indemnity, a “good faith attempt” to resolve the issue is sent to the employer/carrier.
If the employer/carrier refuses or neglects to provide the requested benefit, a petition for benefits (PFB) is filed with the workers’ compensation court.
After the Petition for Benefits is Filed
After the petition is filed, the adjuster (sometimes) files a formal response to the petition with the court, stating the employer/carrier’s position on the requested benefit(s). The court will schedule a mediation. All parties are required to attend the mediation. This is scheduled with the intent to allow the parties to discuss and resolve the issues amicably. Depending on the judge’s office, the mediation may be scheduled right away. However, it is required to be scheduled for a date certain within 40 days of filing the petition pursuant to F.S. 440.25(1). The mediation is required to occur within 130 days after the filing of the petition.
During the time between filing and mediation, it is very common that the deposition of the injured worker is scheduled. Other depositions of witnesses and discovery may also occur before the mediation.
If nothing is resolved at mediation, a final hearing is scheduled. A pretrial hearing is scheduled to occur after the mediation; the attorney handles all aspect of the pretrial hearing. Attendance by the injured worker is not typically required.
Some judges schedule the final hearing soon after the petition is filed. Some schedule it after mediation has concluded. Further discovery typically takes place between mediation and final hearing.
The hearing is scheduled to occur within 210 days following the PFB.
At the hearing, the judge will address any outstanding PFB/claims.
Petition for Benefits
The above information is very general, and the facts of each case may vary. If you have questions regarding your workers’ compensation claim, please contact our office for a free consultation. Our firm is dedicated to protecting the rights of injured workers in Florida. You can schedule a consultation through our website here.