When an employee is seriously injured on the job in Florida, he or she will be assigned an impairment rating. The impairment rating impacts the amount of permanent impairment benefits the worker will receive once he or she reaches maximum medical improvement (MMI) or temporary total benefits have expired.
Permanent impairment is not the same as permanent disability. Whereas permanent disability takes a multitude of factors into consideration, permanent impairment ratings are largely artificial numbers that do not take into consideration the nature of a person’s work.
Lawyer for Workers’ Compensation Permanent Impairment Benefits in Miami, FL
If you or your loved one has been assigned a permanent impairment rating that you feel is much lower than the true extent of your injuries, it will be in your best interest to immediately seek legal representation. The Hoffman Firm can fight to make sure that you receive a fair and accurate permanent impairment rating so you receive all of the workers' compensation benefits you are entitled to.
Miami workers’ compensation attorney Evan A. Hoffman represents clients in Fort Lauderdale, Hallandale Beach, Homestead, Miami Beach, West Palm Beach, Aventura, Boynton Beach, and several other nearby areas of South Florida. Call (305) 940-2307 today to have our lawyer review your case and answer all of your legal questions during a free consultation.
Overview of Permanent Impairment in Florida
- How do physicians assign permanent impairment ratings?
- How long do injured workers receive permanent impairment benefits?
- Where can I find more information about Florida permanent impairment ratings?
Florida Statute § 440.15 established the creation of a uniform permanent impairment rating schedule that is to be used in the determination of permanent impairment ratings. The Florida Uniform Permanent Impairment Rating Schedule is over 100 pages of guidelines that account for a wide variety of injuries and pain symptoms, but the ratings do not take the injured employee’s line of work into consideration.
While most people have good reason to be confident that their own physicians will provide an honest and fair evaluation of their level of permanent impairment, employers and insurance companies will frequently request that injured workers undergo independent medical examinations (IMEs). Despite what the use of the term “independent” in the title, IMEs are typically performed by doctors who will often grade levels of permanent impairment much lower—thus leading to lower compensation that needs to be paid to the injured employee.
It is critical for all injured workers to speak to an experienced workers’ compensation attorney before agreeing to any IMEs.
Temporary benefits end when a doctor determines that an injured worker has reached MMI—the state where his or her condition cannot be improved any further. The employee needs to receive a permanent impairment rating in order to continue receiving benefits.
Under Florida Statute § 440.15(3)(c), permanent impairment income benefits are paid biweekly at the rate of 75 percent of the employee’s average weekly temporary total disability benefit. The employee receives impairment income benefits for a period based on his or her impairment rating:
- Two weeks of benefits for each percentage point of impairment from 1 percent up to and including 10 percent;
- Three weeks of benefits for each percentage point of impairment from 11 percent up to and including 15 percent;
- Four weeks of benefits for each percentage point of impairment from 16 percent up to and including 20 percent;
- Six weeks of benefits for each percentage point of impairment from 21 percent and higher.
1996 Florida Uniform Permanent Impairment Rating Schedule — The Florida Uniform Permanent Impairment Rating Schedule (FUPIRS) is used in the evaluation of permanent impairments for the calculation of impairment benefits in the Sunshine State. You can learn more about the evaluation process and the basic rules of permanent impairment evaluations in this document. The FUPIRS is broken into 16 sections that each focus on specific injury locations, including the cardiovascular system, the respiratory system, the nervous system, and more.
How Does the Workers' Compensation System in Florida Compare to Other States? — In 2001, the Florida Senate Banking and Insurance Committee prepared this report that examined reforms to the state’s workers’ compensation laws. It found that “permanent impairment benefits in Florida are among the lowest in many states reviewed.” The Committee recommended increasing the permanent impairment benefits from 33 percent to 66 ⅔ percent of the temporary total benefits.
The Hoffman Firm | Miami Permanent Impairment Lawyer
Do you or your loved one need assistance receiving a permanent impairment rating that will ensure that you continue to receive necessary benefits? You will want to contact The Hoffman Firm as soon as possible for help navigating Florida’s complex workers’ compensation system.
Evan A. Hoffman is a skilled workers’ compensation attorney in Miami who represents clients in communities throughout Miami-Dade County, Palm Beach County, and Broward County. He can provide an honest and thorough evaluation of your case when you call (305) 940-2307 or fill out an online contact form to take advantage of a free consultation.
Evan A. Hoffman
Mr. Hoffman’s philosophy is "our knowledge and experience is your best defense." He has been a featured author on criminal law issues such as driving under the influence, domestic violence and illegal searches.Read More