Florida Court Rejects Constitutional Challenge to WC Law Provision

20 Jun, 2019 Nancy Grover


Tallahassee, FL (WorkersCompensation.com) - "There is a perception that constitutional challenges to workers’ compensation are on the increase,” wrote Judge David Langham, deputy chief judge of Compensation Claims for the Florida Office of Judges of Compensation Claims at the Division of Administrative Hearings. In the most recent case in Florida, the challenge was unsuccessful.

At issue in the case Abreu v. Riverland Elementary School/Broward County School Board was whether the statutory 'expert medical advisor' presumption violates the state constitution. For several reasons as explained in Langham’s latest Expert’s View, the court reasoned it does not.

The case involved a woman who suffered a work-related shoulder injury, underwent arthroscopic surgery for a partial rotator cuff tear, but said her pain subsequently worsened. Several physicians determined no further surgery was warranted — except a provider who was ‘unauthorized’ as a treating physician or independent medical examiner. An IME with a separate physician said the surgery was appropriate.

Because of the conflict of opinions, the Judge of Compensation Claims in the case appointed another expert medical advisor who said the woman did not require further surgery. The JCC ultimately ruled against the woman’s claim for additional surgery and she appealed.

The Florida statute provides a presumption of correctness to the opinion of an expert medical advisor. The woman’s case said the provision violates separation of powers, equal protection and due process. The court, however, disagreed.

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    About The Author

    • Nancy Grover

      Nancy Grover is a freelance writer having recently retired as the Director, Media Services for WorkersCompensation.com. She comes to our company with more than 35 years as a broadcast journalist and communications consultant. Grover’s specialties include insurance, workers’ compensation, financial services, substance abuse, healthcare and disability. For 12 years she served as the Program Chair of the National Workers’ Compensation and Disability Conference® & Expo. A journalism/speech graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University, Grover also holds an MBA from Palm Beach Atlantic University.

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