In what language do DWC-19 forms from the Carrier need to be sent to the claimant
Administering claims in much of Florida, especially the Southern part of the State, will require you to handle claims for injured workers who speak many different languages, and many who do not read or write in English. Many times Carriers have forms and documents translated into Spanish and Creole for claimants who claim that these are their primary language and don’t understand English. What is the legal obligation of a Carrier to provide DWC-19 forms to these claimants? According to a decision by JCC Kerr, there is no legal requirement to send the forms in whatever language the claimant understands. After submitting DWC-19s to the claimant in English only, the claimant failed to return them and the Carrier suspended indemnity benefits.
After finally discussing the forms with his attorney, the forms were submitted and the Carrier reinstated benefits, but did not pay with P & I. The JCC found that there was no requirement to submit the forms to the claimant in Creole and no P & I were due. If there is any confusion as to what is contained in the forms, the burden is on the claimant to seek clarification. The 1st DCA affirmed this ruling in Erlan Charles v. R.E. Rich Family Holding Corp. and Travelers Insurance (Fla. 1st DCA 2017). While we recommend always trying to send any legal documents to an injured worker in their primary language, it does not appear that there is a legal requirement that will be imposed upon a Carrier to do so