Boca Raton, FL – On October 25, 2023, the Florida First District Court of Appeal, in Siena v. Orange County Fire Rescue/CCMSI, held that the spouse of a firefighter who died of cancer is entitled to death benefits under workers compensation (WC) law in addition to death benefits available under Florida statute 112.1816—which generally provide death, indemnity, and medical benefits to firefighters diagnosed with cancer.
The court reviewed Florida statute 112.1816(2), which provides that firefighters diagnosed with cancer are entitled to certain benefits “as an alternative to pursuing workers compensation benefits” if certain conditions are met.
The court reasoned that the provision only applies to benefits that are set forth in that specific statutory subsection and not to death benefits available elsewhere in the statute or under WC laws.
With this decision, the court reversed the judge of compensation claims ruling that the WC petition for death benefits by the firefighter’s spouse was barred because the spouse had already elected death benefits under Florida statute 112.1816.
This decision may be appealed. NCCI will monitor for further developments.
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