Florida Court Rejects Injured Employee’s Workers’ Compensation Claim for Temporary Partial Disability

When someone is injured in a Florida workplace accident and cannot immediately return to work, they may be entitled to Florida workers’ compensation benefits while they are recovering from their injuries. There are two types of temporary workers’ compensation benefits: temporary partial disability (TPD) benefits and temporary total disability (TTD) benefits.

Temporary partial disability benefits, also known as “wage loss” benefits are awarded when an injured employee can return to work in some capacity, but is not able to earn as much as they did before their injury. This may be because they can only work part-time or because the position they were reassigned to pays less than their pre-injury position.

Earlier this month, a state appellate court issued a written opinion in a Florida workers’ compensation case discussing an injured worker’s claim for temporary partial disability (TPD) benefits. Ultimately, the court concluded that the employee failed to establish that her post-injury wages were sufficiently reduced as a result of her injury, and thus the court rejected her claim for TPD benefits.

The Facts of the Case

According to the court’s opinion, in January 2017 the plaintiff developed a rash on her left shoulder that she attributed to work-related exposure to certain plastics. Under Florida Statutes section 440.20, the employer agreed to compensate the employee while it investigated her claim. In March 2017, the employer denied liability after one of the employee’s treating physicians indicated that the rash was not work-related and that employee was at “maximum medical improvement.”

Once the worker’s claim was denied, she filed for TPD benefits for the period between January and March. The workers’ compensation judge determined that the employee was not entitled to benefits because the rash was not work-related. The employee appealed.

On appeal, the court held that the workers’ compensation judge erred in denying the employee’s claim on the basis that the injury was not work-related. The court explained that under section 440.20, the worker’s injuries were compensable as a matter of law. However, the court ended up affirming the denial of the employee’s claim because she failed to present sufficient proof that any reduction in her post-injury wages was due to the injury she sustained at work. The court explained that the employee provided only “vague and unpersuasive testimony to establish her post-injury wages and submitted no documentation.” Thus, although the appellate court determined that the workers’ compensation judge erroneously denied the employee’s claim, the court held that she was nonetheless ineligible for benefits.

Have You Been Injured at Work?

If you have recently been injured in a Florida workplace accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation through either a Florida workers’ compensation claim or a Florida personal injury lawsuit. The dedicated South Florida injury lawyers at the law firm of Friedman Rodman & Frank have extensive experience assisting injured workers and their families pursue claims for compensation based on their injuries. We handle both workers’ compensation claims as well as Florida personal injury claims, including those arising out of Florida car accidents and slip-and-fall accidents. To learn more, call 877-448-8585 to schedule a free consultation today.

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