Employer Is Entitled to Reimbursement of Compensation Paid to Employee During Period of Disability by Furnishing Satisfactory Proof to the Judge

In Escambia County Sheriff's Dept. v. Grice the employer/carrier sought to reduce a claimant's workers' compensation benefits to the extent that his combined workers' compensation, social security disability (SSD), and state disability retirement benefits exceeded his average weekly wage (AWW). This Court found that section 440.20(15), Florida Statutes (1985), authorized such a reduction. That section provided: When an employee is injured and the employer pays his full wages or any part thereof during the period of disability, or pays medical expenses for such employee, and the case is contested by the carrier or the carrier and employer and thereafter the carrier, either voluntarily or pursuant to an award, makes a payment of compensation or medical benefits, the employer shall be entitled to reimbursement to the extent of the compensation paid or awarded, plus medical benefits, if any, out of the first proceeds paid by the carrier in compliance with such voluntary payment or award, provided the employer furnishes satisfactory proof to the judge of such payment of compensation and medical benefits. Any payment by the employer over and above compensation paid or awarded and medical benefits, pursuant to subsection (14), shall be considered a gratuity. 440.20(15), Fla. Stat. (1985).