There are some amendments to the “Q-Rules”, the WC Rules of Procedure that go into effect on Monday, 2/14/22 (so consider this my little gift to you).
Most of the changes are minor and are more on our end as defense attorneys, but three that should be noted for adjusters and employers:
1) Before the change, any documents filed with the Judge after 5 pm were considered filed the next day. However, now, under 60Q-6.108(1)(e) any document filed with the OJCC before Midnight (EST) is considered filed that same day, anything after Midnight is the next day. This matters for the start of the 5 day window for 1-time changes and the 30 days after a Petition for Benefits is filed for attorney fees to accrue.
Although 60Q-6.109 still says you don’t count the day you get it something, please don’t count on that standing up before a JCC. The 1st DCA already ignored the part in that same section for 1-time changes that says if anything in the statute is less than 7 days you don’t count weekends and holidays.
So basically if anything is date stamped by the JCC up until 11:59 pm, count that as day one. The rules seem to only apply to documents sent to the JCC and not to emails and faxes sent to only to carriers. And because these are procedural rules, they could possibly be applied retroactively.
2) When a PFB is filed, a state mediation is automatically set within 130 days (4 months ish). Prior to the change, if the file was late getting to defense, we could just have it rescheduled. However now under 60Q-6.110- to move a mediation beyond 130 days, you must show circumstances beyond your control or good cause. If a mediation is missed a JCC could strike defenses, so it is very important to get files out quickly to defense (at our firm of course because you are smart, and pretty and have you lost weight?)
3) Under 60Q-6.108(1)(g) – If a PFB has not yet been filed in a case, and the Employer/Carrier is unrepresented, a claimant can send a good faith effort letter to the carrier’s OJCC email address. This is just to explain why you may start seeing these come in this manner.
Please let me know if you have any questions. The amended Q-Rules are here.
Morgan Indek | Managing Partner