A Petition for Benefits (PFB) is the primary pleading filed in a workers compensation claim. The PFB is the pleading that initiates the lawsuit against the workers compensation insurance company. With few exceptions, a job injury entitles you to benefits provided by the workers compensation insurance company. These benefits consist of medical care and payment of lost wages. Unfortunately, workers compensation insurance companies often fail to provide the benefits you’re entitled to receive. A PFB is filed anytime a benefit you’re entitled to receive is denied, delayed, or otherwise not provided by the workers compensation insurance company. If you are unsure whether you are receiving all the benefits you’re entitled to, whether the amounts you’re receiving are correct, or if you’ve been told by the workers compensation insurance company that you are not entitled to a certain benefit, contact our office for a free consultation.
Filing a PFB is a process that is governed by Florida Statutes Chapter 440. (1) Technically, you can file a PFB on your own but navigating the complexities of Florida’s Workers Compensation Law is best done with the assistance of a competent and capable attorney. As an example, you can review Florida Statute 440.192 (2) that provides instructions concerning necessary language a Petition for Benefits must contain. The instructions are detailed. A properly filed PFB is important for numerous reasons. One of which is to avoid being dismissed for lack of specificity. Other reasons involve making sure that the claims you’re asserting in the PFB are properly pled. Being “properly pled,” means worded in a manner that protects your rights and avoids you losing your entitlement to benefits.
Having an attorney file a PFB on your behalf helps to resolve the dispute over work comp benefits. When your attorney files a PFB on your behalf, additional pressure is placed on the work comp carrier to provide the benefits requested. This “additional pressure,” exists in the form of increased exposure concerning the work comp carrier’s expenses related to the claim. Besides the expenses associated with the benefits requested in the Petition, the carrier is at risk for paying your attorney’s fees and costs. Payment of your attorney’s fees and costs can become the responsibility of the work comp carrier based on certain factors. One of which is how long it took the work comp carrier to provide the benefits requested in the PFB. If the carrier delays in providing you wage loss benefits, medical treatment, medical transportation, impairment benefits, or any other benefits you’re entitled to, the delay can trigger entitlement to your attorney’s fees and costs. In addition, you can be entitled to payment of a 20% increase in the amount of your wage loss benefits assessed as a penalty against the work comp carrier. Penalties, Interests, Costs, and Attorney Fees, become issues when benefits are not paid timely. The Florida Legislature enacted law that provides for the recovery of attorney fees and costs when a work comp carrier wrongfully denies or delays the provision of workers compensation benefits. The underlying policy concerning the creation of the statute section (3) granting payment of such penalties, interests, costs, and attorney fees is that Florida’s Worker’s Compensation system is intended to be self – executing. Meaning, you should have received such benefits from the work comp carrier without an attorney filing a PFB on your behalf. As explained above, workers compensation carriers are known for not providing benefits timely. If all workers compensation carriers provided benefits to those injured on the job in a timely manner, there would be no need for attorneys skilled and experienced in representing injured workers. To discuss how the process works in terms of retaining counsel and the filing of Petitions for Benefits, contact our office for a free consultation. Call us at (727) 853-6275 or visit www.dolmanlaw.com.
Dolman Law Group
5435 Main Street
New Port Richey, FL 34652