May 2012

Over the last 3-5 years there has been a movement by Carriers to disassociate themselves from preparing Employer General Releases when completing a settlement with a Claimant.   This is motivated by fear as there was significant litigation by sue-happy Claimant’s alleging collusion between their Employer and its W/C Carrier over employment issues (a baseless charge).  Plus, a W/C Carrier does not cover employment claims, those claims are covered by EPLI policy.

Yet, there is no denying the interconnectedness or “yoking” between the Employer’s interests and the Carrier’s interests when it comes to settlement.  After all, when an E/C settles a claim it behooves both co-defendants to insure that Claimant resigns from her position to avoid future W/C exposure.   Plus, an Employer is still exposed to the potential W/C retaliation claim per section 440.205, and the possibility of a claim with the American with Disabilities Act.  Finally, since almost every W/C claim involves an investigation of past and future wages, every Employer is exposed to an overtime or PTO claim which falls under the Fair Labor Standards Act. 

In truth, when E/C’s settle their W/C claims, they should look to trying to resolve every aspect of the employee/employer relationship into one nice package.  Now, the First DCA just released an opinion affirming this policy. (more…)

The Workers’ Compensation Act is littered with landmines of deadlines that if an Employer/Carrier does not abide by can exponentially increase the value of their claims.   Understanding those deadlines (the 3-day rule, the 5-day rule, the 10-day rule, etc. . .) is imperative.

As strict as those rules are, there is going to be some kind of gamesmanship by Claimant attorneys.  We have all received that 4:55 pm fax on a Friday requesting a one time change.   We’ve all rushed to respond (with a doctor’s name!) before the following Tuesday passes.

However, we should all take a deep breath and realize that the Rules of Civil Procedure afford E/C’s a reasonable calculation of those “strict” deadlines and we have more time than we think. (more…)