Florida Workers’ Compensation: Cars, Custom Vans and Other Transportation Issues
At Harris Guidi Rosner, P.A., we can answer your questions about your workers’ compensation claim and your transportation related concerns.
In serious work-related accidents, those most often involving severe and permanent disability, an injured worker may have extraordinary transportation needs and may require a vehicle to receive authorized medical treatment. In very specific circumstances, an insurance carrier (the insurance company involved in your claim) can be required to provide an automobile, a custom van or may be required to modify your existing transportation according to your needs. There are certain factors that the Judge of Compensation Claims will look at to determine what is awardable under Florida law.
- Is the transportation medically necessary? It must be more than something that would be comfortable and convenient for the injured worker. If in your case the Judge determines that medical transportation is available and sufficient, or that in an alternative, simple, ordinary vehicle will suffice, this is what the Judge of Compensation Claims will likely award in your case. See Aino’s Custom Slipcovers v. DeLucia, 533 So. 2d 862, 865 (Fla. 1st DCA 1988).
- Supportive services such as driving the injured worker to the store and to other places, other than transportation necessary for medical treatment under § 440.13, Fla. Stat., constitute quality-of-life activities and these are not reasons a Judge of Compensation Claims can be expected to award transportation. See Kraft Dairy Group v. Cohen, 645 So. 2d 1072 (Fla. 1st DCA 1994). In essence, the test for whether a van may be awarded as “other apparatus” under § 440.13, Fla. Stat. is whether it would improve the condition caused by the accident or would aid in the recovery from the accident.
- If the employer/carrier offers 24-hour per day transportation as an alternative to the injured worker’s request for a van, the injured worker then has the burden to prove that a van is more appropriate. See Montgomery Ins. & Adm. Farragut Acad. v. Deyo, 876 So. 2d 697 (Fla. 1st DCA 2004).
- A carrier will be allowed to modify or change an injured worker’s existing transportation if that modification will be enough for the injured worker’s medical needs. See Temps & Co. Services v. Cremeens, 597 So. 2d 394, 396–397 (Fla. 1st DCA 1992). Timothy Bowser Construction Company v. Kowalski, 605 So. 2d 885, 887–888 (Fla. 1st DCA 1992).
- A vehicle can be ordered to be modified to help the injured worker’s attendant caregiver, when necessary. For example, in one case, running boards were added to a car to assist the injured worker’s wife. The wife provided attendant care services and needed the running boards to care for her husband, the injured worker. See Southern Industries v. Chumney, 613 So. 2d 74, 76 (Fla. 1st DCA 1993).
If you have any questions about your entitlement to transportation in your Florida workers’ compensation claim, call the lawyers at Harris Guidi Roser, P.A. for a free consultation at (904) 777-7777 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a time to discuss your case.