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Court Rules Against Injured Worker On Doctor Choice

The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

In what could be a first-of-its-kind decision in Florida, an appeals court Monday ruled against an injured worker who sought a change in physicians under the workers-compensation insurance system.

The ruling by a three-judge panel of the 1st District Court of Appeal was rooted in part of state law that allows workers to request a one-time change in physicians while being treated for workplace accidents. Worker Brenton Davis requested such a change, but insurer Retailfirst Insurance Co. and his employer didn't respond in a timely way to the request, according to the ruling. Because of the lack of a response, Davis sought to change his doctor from a family-practice physician to an orthopedist.

A judge of compensation claims said Davis was entitled to select a physician of his choice, but the 1st District Court of Appeal said he could only change to a physician of the type originally approved for workers-compensation treatment.

The ruling does not give details about Davis' employment or injuries, but appealing with Retailfirst Insurance Co. was Servpro of Southeast Tampa. The ruling said it was a "case of first impression" —  indicating the first time the appeals court has dealt with the issue.