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The employee should not have been assessed a fee for a canceled examination by a doctor



A Florida appeals court ruled Wednesday that an injured worker should not have been assessed a cancellation fee for an examination canceled by the doctor.

Sunrise Community filed a request for $21,228.50 in costs to successfully defend against multiple petitions for benefits filed by injured worker Lucianie Baptiste. Sunrise included a demand for a refund of half of a doctor’s $1,800 cancellation fee, according to Baptiste v. Sunrise Community, filed in the Florida Court of Appeals for the 1st District in Tallahassee.

A damages claims judge had earlier ordered Baptiste to appear for an examination by the doctor, wearing a mask. Ms. Baptiste brought the mask, but she also brought along a videographer to record the examination. Although Baptiste had the right to have the videographer present, the doctor refused to conduct the examination and terminated it.

The judge held Ms. Baptiste responsible for the cancellation fee and found the cancellation to be her fault for not notifying that she would be bringing a videographer.

The appeals court, reversing and reversing, said an award of all reasonable legal costs is mandatory because state law states that a worker can be ordered to reimburse a carrier for a cancellation fee if she cannot show good cause for her absence.

Here, the court said, the judge awarded half of a “no-show”

; fee under state law by treating Ms. Baptiste’s presence with the unannounced videographer as a constructive failure to appear.

But the clear language of the law stipulates that payment of half of the no-show fee is not due unless the employee is no-show. Nothing in the statute allows for “constructive” failure to appear, the court said.

Because Ms. Baptiste appeared for the exam, the court said, she should not be charged half the cancellation fee based on the facts presented.

WorkCompCentral is a sister magazine to Business Insurance. More stories here.


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