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As most Floridians are aware as of the date of this blog, the Ron DeSantis, Governor of Florida has issued a “Stay at Home” Order for all of Florida as a result of the global pandemic, COVID-19 (Coronavirus). However, while many individuals have lost their jobs and unemployment is at a historic high, there are still any people who are members of the work force because their jobs are considered “essential.”flu-virus-structure_G1UjIOLd-300x212

Essential employees per the Governor’s executive Order 20-89 are defined, generally as: Healthcare providers, grocery, food banks, and other established engaged in sale of food, food cultivators, businesses that provide food/shelter for homeless, media, gas stations and auto repair, banks, hardware stores, contractors, repair workers, mail and shipping companies, schools (only for online learning), laundry and dry cleaners, restaurants and food preparation, suppliers of essential business needs, airlines and transportation, home-based care for seniors and children, professional services, landscape and pool care, child care centers, telecommunications, architectural services, factories, waste management, and generally businesses that interact with customers through electronic or telephonic means.

Currently, Workers’ Compensation law in the State of Florida, does not extend Workers’ Compensation coverage to all essential workers defined above, however, the State is beginning to take steps in the right direction to extend coverage to some workers.

The Rise and “Phal” of the Workers’ Compensation System- by: Diana I. Castrillon, Esq.

In February of 2013 a three-judge panel at the First District Court of Appeals in the case of Westphal v. City of St. Petersberg ruled that a portion of the Florida Workers Compensation statute was unconstitutional.  Specifically, the Court held:

“… that section 440.15(2)(a), Florida Statutes, is unconstitutional as applied,

El 19 de noviembre de 2009 un hombre se cayó cerca de 25 pies en el asimiento de cargo de una nave, llamada “The Danica Sunbeam.” El hombre tuvo que ser llevado afuera del asimiento de cargo usando una cesta y una grúa/una elevación de modo para que él pudiera ser transportado al hospital. Los últimos informes indican que el hombre está en condiciones estables, milagrosamente, y ha sufrido varias lesiones, incluyendo un brazo quebrado.

Esto es un ejemplo clásico de un caso de compensación laboral y de cómo suceden estos casos diariamente, incluso en situaciones tales como esta, donde la seguridad es una gran parte de la responsabilidad del empleado. Pero algo interesante sobre la ley de compensación laboral en la Florida es que la Florida funciona bajo un sistema de “No Fault” – en otras palabras no importa quien fue culpable por el accidente. Por lo tanto, si el accidente se habría podido evitar por acciones del empleado lesionado o el empresario, la compañía de seguros cubrirá al trabajador lesionado por su tratamiento médico y cualquier salario que él pierda como resultado del accidente.

Hay algunas excepciones a esta regla general que un abogado bien-versado en la ley de compensación laboral puede explicarle. Freeman Injury Law puede ayudarle a entender esas excepciones en la ley para mejor proteger sus derechos. Si usted o alguien que usted conoce ha sufrido una lesión en el trabajo en Miami-Dade, Broward o los condados del Palm Beach, llamenos para una consulta gratis al (800) 561-777.

On February 22, 2019 Freeman Injury Law’s workers compensation attorney, Diana Castrillon presented a “Case Law Update” to the local Bar of attorneys at the 2019 Workers’ Compensation Conference.  Only certain attorneys are selected based on skill and experience to carry out this highly anticipated panel presentation. Attorney Castrillon was honored to have been chosen to update a group of their colleagues of the current state of Workers Compensation law in Florida. Ms. Castrillon researched all the latest cases and studied them extensively so that she could educate the local attorneys with regards to any changes in the law.

The cases Ms. Castrillon presented at the Case Law Update involved medical treatment, statute of limitations, pretrial rules, motions to enforce agreements, one-time change in medical providers, payment of temporary disability benefits, payment of advances on compensation, evidence and independent medical examinations.

One important case to recently come out of the 1st District Court of Appeals in Florida,  is Myers v. Pasco County School Board, No. 1D17-5457 (Fla. 1st DCA 2018),  where an injured worker was seeking a one-time change from her orthopedic surgeon to a new orthopedist.  The insurance company provided the injured worker, Myers, with a neur  osurgeon instead because that doctor was likely more favorable to the insurance company.  Myers attorney filed a claim against the Employer/Carrier arguing that a neurosurgeon is a different medical specialty that an orthopedic and that it was not appropriate to send the injured worker to a different specialty without a referral.  At the lower court level, the Judge agreed with the Employer/Carrier and said that the specialty of the physician is close enough that both of these types of doctors can treat similar medical conditions.  So the Court said this was substantial compliance with Myer’s request.  However, this case was then sent up on appeal and the 1st District Court of Appeals did not agree with the Judge and ordered the Employer/Carrier to provide the injured workers with a new doctor within the same medical specialty as he requested, orthopedics.  This case made it clear to the employer and insurance carrier that the rules are being strictly construed and when an injured worker asks for an “orthopedic,” they must be provided with exactly what they request.

Unintentional falls are among the leading causes of accidental injury in the state of Florida. According to data published by the Florida Department of Health, falls are the leading cause of death for people over the age of 65. During the year 2012 alone the economic impact of unintentional fall accidents was in excess of $3.6 billion statewide. The median medical admission charge was slipped on wet floor injurymore than $46,000.

The circumstances leading to a slipped on wet floor injury in South Florida vary widely from case to case. They might involve employees of the business, customers or invited guests on private property. The most common injuries that resulted from unintentional falls during the year 2012 included:

  • Hip fractures,

It is our pleasure to announce that Diana I. Castrillon, Esq. has now joined Freeman Injury Law where she will be founding and managing the Claimant’s Workers’ Compensation department.

Ms. Castrillon has been in practice for over 17 years in the State of Florida.  Diana started her practice as a defense attorney representing insurance companies, and for the last 15 years, Ms. Castrillon has been representing only injured workers in Workers Compensation cases.  Diana obtained her undergraduate degree from the University of Florida in 1997 with honors and her law degree from Nova Southeastern University in 2001 with high honors.  She has been an active member of the Florida Bar since 2001.

In 2018, Ms. Castrillon was named Chair of the Year by the Broward County Bar Association for her work in the Workers’ Compensation section providing services to the legal community. Before that, in 2004, she was named Outstanding Female Lawyer by the Woman’s Lawyers Journal.

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