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Permanent Disability Attorney in Vero Beach, Florida

You might be wondering why you need an attorney to handle your workers' comp claim. The truth is, these claims can be complicated if you deal with them alone. As an experienced lawyer in this field, I can help you understand the legal jargon, submit the necessary paperwork, and represent you during any hearings or appeals. 

In addition, having an attorney by your side can increase your chances of receiving the maximum benefits you're entitled to. I've worked with numerous clients throughout Sebastion, Florida, and greater Indian River County who have faced similar situations. I'm ready to put my knowledge and experience to work for you. So if you need skilled legal guidance through a workers' compensation claim, and you're searching for permanent disability benefits, reach out to me today.

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Understanding the Connection Between Permanent Disability & Workers' Compensation

If you're injured on the job and your injury results in a permanent disability, you could be eligible for workers' comp benefits. These benefits are designed to financially assist you when you're unable to work due to your injury. They can help cover your medical costs, lost wages, and more. 

Workers' compensation is a form of insurance that most employers in Florida are required to provide. It's there to protect both the employer and the employee in case of a workplace accident. If you've been injured at work and it's resulted in a permanent disability, don't hesitate to reach out. I'm here to help you understand your rights and what you may be entitled to. 

Permanent Total Disability

Permanent total disability (PTD) refers to a situation where an individual is completely unable to work due to their work-related injury. This doesn't necessarily mean you can't do any work at all, but rather that you can't return to your previous job or perform work in the same field. 

To qualify for Permanent Total Disability (PTD), employees must: 

  • Sustain an injury or illness that is work-related and deemed catastrophic, 

  • Meet the statutory requirements of having a complete loss or loss of use of both hands, feet, eyes, or a combination thereof,  

  • Experience a severe spinal cord injury that involves severe paralysis, or a severe brain or closed-head injury as defined in the Florida statutes, or 

  • Be medically assessed as unable to engage in at least sedentary employment, within a 50-mile radius of the employee’s residence, due to physical limitation. 

If you're deemed to have a PTD, you may be entitled to receive workers' compensation benefits for the rest of your life.  

Permanent Partial Disability 

On the other hand, permanent partial disability (PPD) refers to a situation where an individual is partially impaired due to their work-related injury. This means that while you may still be able to work, your ability to perform certain tasks or work in certain conditions may be limited. 

Qualifications for permanent partial disability (PPD) differ from those of PTD; being categorized as PPD suggests that your work capacity is reduced rather than entirely eliminated. The criteria for PPD involve: 

  • A work-related injury or illness resulting in long-term or permanent damage; 

  • The inability to perform certain work activities or fulfill all job duties as before the injury; 

  • The capacity to perform some work, possibly in a different capacity or with accommodations. 

PPD is distinct from PTD as it allows for some level of work activity. Unlike PTD, where an individual is deemed completely unable to engage in any employment, those with PPD retain some functional capacity for employment. The determination of PPD also includes an evaluation of the percentage of impairment, which directly influences the amount and duration of the workers' comp benefits you may receive. Each case is assessed individually, and the compensation is calculated according to the severity of the disability and its impact on your ability to earn an income. 

Eligibility for Workers' Compensation

Every state has different rules and regulations regarding eligibility for workers' compensation. In Florida, most employees are covered under their employer's workers' comp insurance from the day they start work. If you've suffered a work-related injury that's resulted in a permanent disability, you may be eligible for benefits. 

How to Claim Workers' Compensation for Permanent Disability

Claiming workers' compensation for a permanent disability can be an intricate process, but as your attorney, I am committed to guiding you every step of the way. You can file by following the same general process as filing for workers’ compensation, and have an attorney advocate for permanent disability benefits. 

FAQs about Permanent Disability

When dealing with the repercussions of a permanent disability due to a work-related injury, many clients come to me with questions about their situation and how to proceed. Here are some common questions I encounter: 

Q: Can I still work if I'm receiving permanent disability benefits?  

A: This depends on the nature of your disability. If you're classified under Permanent Total Disability (PTD), it is determined that you cannot work in any capacity. However, if you receive Permanent Partial Disability (PPD) benefits, you may still be able to work in a limited capacity or in a different type of job, depending on your physical abilities. 

Q: Can my employer terminate my employment if I am permanently disabled?  

A: Employers cannot terminate your employment solely because you have filed for workers' comp benefits. However, if you are unable to perform your job duties because of the permanent disability, your employer may be able to let you go, depending on the circumstances. It's important to discuss this with your attorney to understand your rights. 

Q: What if my claim for permanent disability is denied?  

A: If your claim is denied, you have the right to appeal the decision. This process involves filing the appropriate paperwork, gathering additional evidence, and possibly going through a hearing. As your attorney, I will guide you through the appeal process to fight for your benefits. 

Q: How long does it take to receive permanent disability benefits after filing a claim?  

A: The timeframe for receiving benefits can vary depending on the complexity of your case and the efficiency of the claims process. Since each case is unique, it's difficult to provide a specific timeline. However, an experienced attorney can help streamline the process and mitigate any delays. 

Q: Will my permanent disability benefits be affected if I choose to retire?  

A: Retirement can affect your disability benefits, but it depends on the nature of your retirement and the type of benefits you're receiving. It's important to discuss with your attorney how retirement could impact your specific situation so you can plan accordingly. 

Q: Are permanent disability benefits taxable?  

A: Generally, workers' compensation benefits—including those for permanent disability—are not considered taxable income at the federal level. However, if you are also receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), your workers' comp benefits might affect the taxability of those benefits. 

Q: Can I receive permanent disability benefits for mental health conditions?  

A: Yes, if a mental health condition is the result of a work-related incident or is exacerbated by your job, and it has led to a permanent disability, you may be eligible for benefits. 

Permanent Disability Attorney in Vero Beach, Florida

At the Law Office of Olivia Devonmille, P.A., I understand the challenges you're facing. Dealing with a permanent disability can be overwhelming, especially when you're trying to secure workers' compensation benefits. Located in Vero Beach and serving clients throughout Sebastion and greater Indian River County, I'm here to stand by your side and support you through this process. Call my firm today for support.