“Worker’s Comp Legal Update - Florida Court Limits Fees/Costs related to Guardianship for WC claims”

August 3, 2023

The 1st DCA issued an important decision for those of you handling catastrophic cases. The DCA affirmed that what we pay guardians is limited to fees and costs incurred in the pursuit of disputed claims for workers’ compensation benefits under §440.  In Lopez v. Green Bandit Lawn Company, the Claimant’s guardian petitioned the JCC for reimbursement of fees and expenses related to the establishment and administration of the guardianship, including Guardian’s fees, mileage, and court costs.  The Employer/Carrier countered that it never denied Claimant his workers’ compensation benefits and, therefore, the guardian’s expenses were not in pursuit of disputed Claimant’s workers’ compensation benefits.  The JCC sided with the Employer/Carrier, following the 1st DCA’s precedent limiting a guardian’s reimbursement to the expenses and costs directly associated with obtaining benefits on Claimant’s behalf.  As such, Employer/Carriers should carefully scrutinize bills they receive from guardians.