BI’s Article search uses Boolean search capabilities. If you are not familiar with these principles, here are some quick tips.

To search specifically for more than one word, put the search term in quotation marks. For example, “workers compensation”. This will limit your search to that combination of words.

To search for a combination of terms, use quotations and the & symbol. For example, “hurricane” & “loss”.

Login Register Subscribe

Worker can sue in civil court over prohibited medical debt collection


The Florida Supreme Court on Thursday unanimously ruled that state workers compensation law does not preclude circuit court jurisdiction over claims against a health care provider for prohibited debt collection practices.

Patty Davis was injured during the course of her employment. She received medical care from Sheridan Radiology Services of Pinellas Inc. and the Laboratory Corp. of America. Thereafter, Sheridan and Labcorp repeatedly billed Davis directly for the medical care she received.

Davis filed two separate actions against Sheridan and Labcorp under the Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act, according to Laboratory Corp. of America v. Davis and Sheridan Radiology Services of Pinellas Inc. v. Davis, Nos., filed in Tallahassee.

Ms. Davis argued that as an injured employee who received treatment pursuant to the workers compensation system, her employer’s comp insurer, Commercial Risk Management Inc., was responsible for reimbursing Sheridan and Labcorp. Thus, Ms. Davis maintained that Sheridan and Labcorp’s attempts to collect the debt from her constituted an attempt to collect an illegitimate debt.

In response, Sheridan and Labcorp asserted that the trial courts lacked subject matter jurisdiction for the alleged FCCPA violations. The trial courts agreed with Sheridan and Labcorp and dismissed Ms. Davis’ FCCPA claims. Davis appealed, and the Court of Appeal for the 2nd District of Florida consolidated her cases.

The 2nd DCA reversed, finding nothing in the Workers’ Compensation Law precluded Ms. Davis’ FCCPA claims, but it also certified the jurisdiction issue to the Florida Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court noted that the FCCPA prohibits the collection of a debt when the collector “knows that the debt is not legitimate,” and the act authorizes civil remedies for violation of its provisions. Comp law establishes that an injured worker is not liable for payment for medical treatment or services provided for compensable injuries, and providers may not collect a fee, or attempt to collect a fee, from a worker.

WorkCompCentral is a sister publication of Business Insurance. More stories here.