Fortunately, most workplace accidents don't result in injuries leading to permanent disabilities. But when they do, the injured worker may never be able to return to the workplace again. Workers in Florida who have suffered a permanent job-related disability have the option of negotiating a lump sum settlement for indemnity benefits (money) with their employer's workers' compensation insurance provider.
This blog post will discuss the levels of workers' compensation benefits available to injured workers in Florida.
Impairment income benefits for permanent partial disabilities
Benefits for a permanent partial disability (PPD) are formally referred to as impairment income benefits. After your doctor has determined that you have reached maximum medical improvement following our accident or diagnosis, you will be offered a settlement based on a percentage of your average pay over a 13-week period. Your employer's workers' comp insurer will send notification of the amount of money you should receive over a limited number of weeks, or you can opt for a lump sum payment.
f course, you can try to negotiate for a higher settlement, but the reality is that you will be negotiating against an impairment rating determined by using established medical guidelines and adhered to industry-wide.
Permanent Total Disability
If your workplace injury leaves you with full disability and you feel you will never return to work in any capacity, you will have the option to apply for permanent total disability (PTD). Florida has a list of disabilities that are part of the criteria for qualifying for a PTD settlement. Even if you qualify with one of the disabilities on the list, however, your employer and insurance provider might try to establish that you can still work in some "sedentary" capacity - either at your former workplace or for a new employer. Your claim for PTD will be denied and you will be left with a PPD benefits rating unless you appeal.
If you do not return to work at a reduced, sedentary capacity, don't give up. You have another avenue for applying for PTD. You will have to prove, with medical documentation, that you cannot find another employer within 50 miles of your home. And that is why hiring an experienced workers' compensation attorney to advocate on your behalf is your best option when applying for any kind of permanent disability benefits.