A Florida Workers’ Compensation case came out yesterday clarifying what an injured worker must prove before being entitled to Florida work comp permanent total disability (PTD) benefits.
When an injured worker is entitled to permanent total disability (PTD) benefits, the injured worker is entitled to receiving workers’ compensation checks (two-thirds of the average weekly wage) for the remainder of his or her life or until the disability improves. Under the Florida workers’ compensation law, a claimant not presumptively PTD based on a listed injury “must establish that he or she is not able to engage in at least sedentary employment, within a 50-mile radius of the employee’s residence, due to his or her physical limitation.” §440.15(1)(b), Fla. Stat. (2003).
Yesterday, the Florida First District Court of Appeals elaborated on this statute and ruled tha.
a claimant who does not have a listed injury may prove entitlement to PTD benefits by presenting evidence of one of these scenarios:
- Permanent medical incapacity to engage in at least sedentary employment, within a 50-mile radius of the employee’s residence, due to physical limitation;
- Permanent work-related physical restrictions coupled with an exhaustive but unsuccessful job search; or
- Permanent work-related physical restrictions that, while not alone totally disabling, preclude Claimant from engaging in at least sedentary employment when combined with vocational factors.
This is a more realistic approach to permanent total disability benefits, especially in cases where the injured worker did manually labor all his life, got hurt on the job, and then was left with restrictions that prevented him to return to his line of work by assigning light duty restrictions only. Despite searching for light duty work with no experience or training, this injured worker would not be entitled to PTD benefits under the restrictive statutory definition.
If you have been injured in a Florida workers’ compensation injury, it is important that you talk with a lawyer who understands Florida work comp law. Although the Florida Workers’ Compensation law is supposed to be self-executing, it is not. Attorney Matthew Noyes is the Director of Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes’ workers’ compensation department. Contact Attorney Noyes for a free case consultation.
Since 1955, Attorney Noyes’ Tampa Bay personal injury law firm–Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes, P.A.–has been caring for clients after Florida workers compensation claims, car accidents, motorcycle crashes, social security disability matters and other personal injury matters. We See You Through.