Gonzalez v. Pepsi Bottling Group, 17 FLWCLB 7 (Fla. JCC, Ft. Myers 2010).
Ruling: A Florida judge of compensation claims denied the worker's request to increase his mileage compensation rate for medically related travel expenses to $.55 per mile.
What it means: In Florida, there is no legal authority that requires a JCC to adjust the amount of reimbursement for medically related travel expenses. An employee is entitled to be paid the reasonable actual costs of transportation expenses.
Summary: An employee severely injured his back while lifting on the job. The employee requested permanent total disability benefits and issued a demand that the employer pay medical mileage at the Internal Revenue Service rate of $.55 per mile rather than the $.445 per mile the employer was paying. The JCC found the employee was entitled to permanent total disability and permanent total supplemental benefits. As for the medical mileage, the JCC determined there was no legal mandate in Florida that authorized JCCs to legislate a reimbursement rate for medically related travel expenses.
An employee is entitled to the "reasonable actual costs" of transportation expenses, the JCC noted. However, employers are not mandated by law to pay any stated rate because Florida does not have a uniform rate of reimbursement applicable to workers' compensation cases. The worker failed to show that the actual costs incurred from medically related travel were not adequately compensated by the $.445 per mile the employer paid. His demand to increase the amount to $.55 per mile was denied.
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May 10, 2010
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