Investigation Discovers Worker’s Comp Was Denied Without Tests In Lakeland

Florida, like many states, has laws governing compensation for those who are injured at work. Florida law requires all employers to purchase workers’ compensation coverage, with a few exceptions. Regardless of fault, employees are compensated for injuries that occur in the course of their job duties. This coverage can allow immunity from some injury lawsuits by the employee. The amount of coverage that a business needs to provide is covered by state law. The Division of Workers’ Compensation, which is within the Department of Financial Services, is the regulating body for employees who receive benefits under workers’ compensation coverage. News Channel 8 reports on a man who had worker’s compensation case workers decide he was fit for work without tests.

17 months ago, Lakeland resident Neil Eckelberger was badly burned in an explosion that occurred in his workplace. Now, the insurance company responsible for paying Eckelberger’s disability payments is saying that it is stopping payment because he has reached maximum medical improvement and is fit to return to work.

After the explosion, which occurred at the Natural Advantage Food Flavorings in September, left Eckelberger being rushed to the burn unit at Tampa General Hospital. He remained in the hospital for 10 days.

The employer’s workers compensation insurance carrier, Traveler’s Insurance, is fit to return to work. Further, the insurance company also contends that testing to see if Eckelberger has a back injury or a traumatic brain injury was unnecessary.

Travelers sent Eckelberger to see psychologist D. Frank Schultz, Ph.D. Dr. Shultz determined that Eckelberger displayed classic symptoms of both TBI and PTSD. He recommended treatment. Travelers denied the claim for treatment and refused to allow Eckelberger to see Dr. Schultz again.

Another doctor that Travelers sent Eckelberger to see also recommended that he be tested for a TBI. The testing did not happen. Travelers contends that Eckelberger has reached maximum medical improvement and is ready to go back to work.