Florida law requires most employers to carry workers’ compensation insurance to provide financial benefits to employees who sustain injuries on the job. You may be eligible to receive permanent total disability (PTD) benefits through workers’ compensation if your injuries leave you unable to work. However, qualifying for permanent total disability requires meeting stringent legal standards.
Under the Workers’ Compensation Act, an injured employee seeking PTD benefits needs to prove that they have suffered an injury at work that has rendered them physically incapable of employment. The law specifies certain catastrophic injuries that create a presumption of permanent total disability, including these:
Injured workers who have not suffered a catastrophic injury like those listed may still qualify for PTD benefits by presenting persuasive medical and vocational evidence.
PTD benefits will be paid if the employee is not physically able to engage in sedentary employment within 50 miles of his or her residence. Sedentary work involves sitting most of the time but may involve walking or standing for brief periods of time. An individual is considered able to perform a full range of sedentary work if they can lift up to 10 pounds and can occasionally carry small items. Sedentary work covers a wide range of jobs and not just those within the employee’s career history. However, a skills analysis of the injured workers’ past work will be performed when comparing the skills needed for current that could be classified as sedentary employment.
If your employer or insurance carrier disputes your PTD claim, they will attempt to prove that you can work, at least in a limited capacity. If you’ve suffered one of the catastrophic injuries listed above, the burden is on the employer to prove you are capable of performing sedentary work. They may contact a vocational analyst who can provide an expert opinion on whether you could remain in the work force. You should seek counsel from an experienced workers’ compensation attorney who can gather and present compelling evidence to the contrary.
Vassallo, Bilotta & Davis has the knowledge and resources to help you make a strong case for Florida workers’ compensation, including permanent total disability benefits. Please call 561-471-2800 or contact us online to schedule a free initial consultation at one of our offices, located in West Palm Beach and Stuart.