Jurisdiction cases are messy and very fact intensive.   Claimants who have out of state accidents offer confusing claims as to whether they are eligible for W/C benefits.   The key is s. 440.09(1)(d) which dictates that if a Claimant is injured outside of this state,  Florida W/C coverage only applies if the contracts of employment was made in Florida.

Of course, with out of state employment, the question arises: what is “made in Florida”?

In Owens v. CCJ Auto Transport, Claimant executed a contract of hire to drive a tractor trailer truck across state lines.  The job was to begin once Claimant arrived in Utah.  The Employer paid for Claimant to fly to Utah.  The contract was offered, agreed upon and executed in Florida by Claimant, where he resides.

However, the JCC found that the employment did not begin until Claimant actually arrived in Utah and began driving the truck back to Florida.  Based on 1960 case law, the JCC found that the contract of hire was not accepted by Claimant until he arrived in Utah, hence there was no contract “made in Florida.”

The First DCA reversed and distinguished this case from existing case law.  Here, the facts are simple: the parties completed the contract in Florida, and the act of flying to Utah was part of the contract.  The contract was made in Florida.  This is especially true when the actual job was to for Claimant to drive to back to Florida. 

When you have out of state accidents and Claimant’s looking for benefits in Florida, be sure to review the details surrounding the contract of hire.  

Ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Do Claimant or the Employer reside in Florida?  Was the job offered in Florida? 
  2. Was the employment principally located in Florida?
  3. Was the contract executed in Florida by at least one party? 
  4. Was the job to be completed in Florida (like in Owens)? 

If most or all of your answers to these questions tell you Florida, then Florida is your likely jurisdiction.

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