Make us your home page

Court sides with injured worker in benefits case

Pointing to a Florida Supreme Court ruling that found part of the workers' compensation system unconstitutional, an appeals court Wednesday said a partially injured worker should be able to receive benefits beyond a limit in state law.

The ruling by a panel of the 1st District Court of Appeal dealt with a coverage "gap" in the workers' compensation system and was rooted in a June decision by the Supreme Court. In the Supreme Court case, injured St. Petersburg firefighter Bradley Westphal was paid what are known as "temporary total disability" benefits for 104 weeks, which was the limit for those types of payments under state law.

But when Westphal sought to receive permanent total disability benefits, a judge of compensation claims ruled that the request was premature because it had not been determined that Westphal had reached what is known as "maximum medical improvement." That created a gap until Westphal could get permanent benefits several months later.

The Supreme Court found the law unconstitutional and ordered that the state return to a pre-1994 law that allowed 260 weeks of temporary total disability benefits in situations such as the Westphal case.

Wednesday's ruling, in a case brought by injured worker Vincent Jones against Food Lion, Inc. and Risk Management Services, dealt with a similar situation but involved "temporary partial disability" benefits — rather than temporary total disability benefits, as in the Westphal case. The appeals court said the Supreme Court ruling should also apply to such situations, allowing temporary partial disability benefits up to 260 weeks.

Court sides with injured worker in benefits case 11/09/16 [Last modified: Wednesday, November 9, 2016 3:51pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Allegiant Air reports $400 million in revenue for second quarter

    Allegiant Air CEO Maurice J. Gallagher Jr. | [Courtesy of Tony Jannus Aviation Society]
  2. As Dow hits new high, Raymond James Financial reports record financial gains


    On the same day that the Dow closed at new highs, investment firm Raymond James Financial reported record revenues and earnings for its fiscal third quarter that ended June 30.

    Raymond James Financial CEO Paul Reilly unveiled record quarterly revenues and earnings for the St. Petersburg-based investment firm. [Courtesy of Raymond James Financial]
  3. Florida GDP growth in first quarter 2017 ranks 21st among states, still outpacing U.S.

    Economic Development

    Florida's gross domestic product or GDP rose 1.4 percent in the first quarter, slightly faster than the nation's growth of 1.2 percent and placing Florida 21st among the states for growth rates, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.

    Not too hot. Not too cold.

    These Jackson Square Townhomes began hitting the west Hillsborough County market late last year and continued to be sold into the first quarter of 2017. The real estate sector was the biggest driver of Florida's gross domestic product, which rose 1.4 percent in the first quartrer of 2017.  [JAMES BORCHUCK   |   Times]
  4. A new app will help you find your favorite Tampa Bay food trucks

    Food & Dining

    What's new: Food tech

    Local food businesses are embracing new technologies and partnerships to bring us extra deliciousness.

    Michael Blasco of Tampa Bay Food Trucks says that everyone always asked about an app to help find their favorite food trucks. There is, available for iPhones and Droids.
  5. Another Pinellas foreclosure auction fools bidders, raises questions

    Real Estate

    For the second time in six weeks, a company connected to lawyer Roy C. Skelton stood poised to profit from a Pinellas County foreclosure auction that confused even experienced real estate investors.

    A Palm Harbor company bid  $112,300 for  this Largo townhome at a foreclosure auction July 21 not realizing the auction involved a second mortgage, connected to lawyer and  real estate investor Roy Skelton -- and that the bank could still foreclose on the  first mortgage.