The Workers’ Compensation System in Florida provides for a one-time lump sum advance payment. An injured worker need only demonstrate that he/she cannot afford to meet their monthly/yearly obligations (rent, insurance, car payments, etc.) as they become due.
A Judge of Compensation Claims can award an injured worker up to a $2000 advance payment. It is essential to have an attorney for this process. Your attorney will be able to discuss this advance directly with the Employer/Carrier, and if an agreement is met, an Evidentiary Hearing in front of the Judge will not be necessary. If the Insurance Carrier does not agree to pay the advance, a hearing in front of the Judge of Compensation Claims will be scheduled. So long as the Claimant is able to prove that they cannot meet their monthly/yearly payments due to the industrial Accident, the Judge has discretion to award an amount up to $2000.
In Your Best Interest
A recent case came out in the 1st District Court of Appeals. The Court decided that so long as the Injured Worker is able to prove that the advance payment is in his/her best interest, and is reasonable under the circumstances, the Judge shall award up to a $2000 advance. The Claimant must prove that he/she has suffered a loss of earning capacity, a physical impairment or that the individual has not returned to same/ equivalent employment. Next, once the Injured Worker proves that he/she fits into one of the above categories, the Claimant need only show that because of the industrial accident, he/she cannot meet their obligations each month (such as car, rent, utility payments). The Judge will then rule on the monetary amount that should be awarded to the injured worker, based on the evidence (monthly bills).
Consult an Attorney
Thus, an advance payment bridges the gap, and provides an injured worker with a lump sum of money while he/she receives medical treatment. It is important to consult an attorney, and ensure a reasonable amount is being requested. It is essential to demonstrate a need for the advance, and that this need arose due to the industrial accident. Your attorney will be able to discuss this advance with the Employer/Carrier in lieu of an Evidentiary Hearing that may take months to be scheduled.