We are thankful that the majority of work place accidents do not result in catastrophic, permanent injuries. However, when there are permanent injuries, an injured worker may never be able to return to their prior place of employment or any other employment for that matter. In those cases, when an injured worker has suffered a permanent job-related disability, we fight for the rights of that individual to either negotiate a lump sum settlement with their employer’s workers’ compensation insurance provider or obtain permanent total disability benefits as a result of that injury.

This blog post will discuss the levels of workers’ compensation benefits available to injured workers in Florida.

Permanent Impairment Benefits:

After your doctor has determined that you have reached maximum medical improvement following our accident or diagnosis, the physician assigns what is referred to as permanent impairment benefits. Your employer’s workers’ comp insurer will send notification of the amount of money you should receive over a limited number of weeks.  However, the assigned rating from the authorized provider is not always the correct rating that should be assigned for the severity of your injury and is an issue that needs to be addressed by an expert evaluating your case and your specific injuries.

Permanent Total Disability

If your workplace injury leaves you with full disability and you feel you will never return to work in any capacity, the insurance company may try to press you to return to work regardless so they can avoid exposure for permanent total disability benefits.  However, if you are able to meet the statutory criteria for entitlement to these benefits, you would be entitlement to payment of her compensation rate every week until, in most cases, you reach age 75. 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 but that should not be the end of the road for you and your claim.  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.