Case Law Update -February 2017

ONE-TIME CHANGE

RetailFirst Insurance Company and Servpro v. Brenton Davis, No. 1D16-2310, Fla 1st DCA (January 23, 2017)

This appeal concerns the proper interpretation of Florida Statute §440.13(2)(f) regarding a one-time change of physicians. The specific question addressed is whether or not a claimant is entitled to select a physician in a different specialty from that of the originally authorized physician under the circumstances where an employer/carrier fails to respond timely to a request for a one-time change.

The First District Court of Appeal noted that various Judges of Compensation Claims were split on the answer to this question. Some JCC’s were holding that the one-time change must be within the same specialty as the original doctor and other JCC’s were allowing the claimant to choose a new treating doctor from an entirely different specialty. In the instant case, JCC Ellen Lorenzen had allowed the claimant, Brenton Davis, to change his authorized family practice physician to an orthopedist because the E/C failed to timely respond to his request for a one-time change.

The First DCA held that a proper reading of statute §440.13(2)(f) reflected a legislative intent of allowing only a “one – for – one” exchange of physicians within the same specialty.

Practical Application:

The Davis case makes it clear that all one-time changes must be to a physician within the same specialty as the original treating physician regardless of whether or not the E/C timely responds to the claimant’s request for the change.

Please feel free to contact any of our workers’ compensation attorneys listed below if you wish to discuss this case and its application to your claims. You may reach us at the telephone numbers or e-mail addresses listed below:

Fort Lauderdale/East Coast Office: (954) 462-4304

Walter C. Wyatt, Partner – ext. 218

wcwyatt@fla-esq.com

Robert M. Potter, III, Partner – ext. 222

rmpotter@fla-esq.com

St. Petersburg/West Coast Office: (727) 322-1739

Joseph A. Bayliss, Partner – ext. 201

jbayliss@fla-esq.com

Jerome B. Blevins, Partner – ext. 205

jblevins@fla-esq.com