permanent total disability

Qualifying For Permanent Total Disability Benefits

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In a Workers Compensation claim, the two most common types of lost wage benefits that an injured employee may receive are Temporary Total Disability (“TTD”) and Temporary Partial Disability (“TPD”) benefits. These wage benefits are generally paid when an injured employee has either been taken out of work by an authorized Workers Compensation physician or has been placed on light duty restrictions and the employer is not able to accommodate those restrictions. Another type of lost wage benefit an injured worker may be entitled to is Permanent Total Disability (“PTD”) benefits, but the requirements for receiving this type of benefit are the most difficult to establish.

Pursuant to Florida Statute 440.15(1)(b), to receive permanent total disability benefits, an injured employee must establish that he or she is not able to work within a 50 mile radius of his or her home. One of the reasons establishing this requirement may be difficult is because there are many jobs which do not require any physical activity, thus most injured workers will be able to perform job duties that do not require any physical exertion. The requirement to return to work would involve any job available in the national economy, not just the job the injured worker previously held. For example, if an injured worker previously worked in the construction industry, they will not be able to qualify for permanent total disability benefits if they are able to work as a greeter in a retail store.

Another way an injured worker may qualify for permanent total disability benefits is if they have suffered a catastrophic injury. Some of the injuries listed in Florida Statute 440.02(34) which constitute a catastrophic injury include: spinal cord injury involving severe paralysis of an arm, leg or the trunk; amputation of an arm, foot, hand or leg involving effective loss of use of that appendage; severe brain or closed-head injury which may result in severe sensory or motor disturbance, severe communication disturbance, or severe episodic neurological disorders; total or industrial blindness; or second-degree or third-degree burns of 25% or more of the total body surface or third-degree burns of 5% or more to the hands or face. A catastrophic injury creates a presumption that an injured worker qualifies for permanent total disability benefits, however the Employer/Carrier may rebut this presumption by establishing that there is sedentary work available within the injured employee’s physical and vocational capacities.

As you can see, qualifying for permanent total disability benefits may be difficult to establish, however evidence and strong legal arguments can be made in order for an injured worker to receive it. That is why it is important to hire a Workers Compensation attorney who handles these types of situations. If you were injured on the job or know of someone who was, have them give us a call at (844) 762-8155.