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Permanent Total Disability Benefits

When workers in Florida suffer injuries so severe that they are unable to return to work in any capacity, those employees can be entitled to permanent total disability (PTD) benefits. Workers are presumed to be permanently and totally disabled when they sustain one of the five types of injuries listed under Florida Statute § 440.15, but employees can still be eligible for PTD benefits if they can establish that they are not able to engage in at least sedentary employment, within a 50-mile radius of their residences, due to their physical limitation.

The 50-mile radius can be a difficult standard to overcome for some workers because the South Florida area is densely populated, especially along the East Coast. Areas as far north as Boca Raton and as far south as Key Largo technically fall within the 50-mile radius of downtown Miami, even though the destinations may be incredibly difficult to reach for a seriously injured employee.

Lawyer for Permanent Total Disability Benefits in Miami, FL

Did you or your loved one sustain a catastrophic injury on the job in South Florida? You could be entitled to PTD benefits for your workers’ compensation claim, and The Hoffman Firm can help you get the benefits you need and deserve.

Evan A. Hoffman is an experienced workers’ compensation attorney in Miami who represents clients all over South Florida, including Boynton Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Hallandale Beach, Homestead, Miami Beach, West Palm Beach, Aventura, and many other surrounding communities. He can provide an honest and thorough evaluation of your case as soon as you call (305) 940-2307 to take advantage of a completely free initial consultation.


Florida Permanent Total Disability Benefits Information Center


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Permanent Total Disability Benefits Eligibility in Miami

Under Florida Statute § 440.15, a worker is presumed to be permanently and totally disabled if he or she suffers one of the following injuries—unless the employer or insurance carrier establishes that the employee is physically capable of engaging in at least sedentary employment within a 50-mile radius of his or her residence:

  • Amputation of an arm, a hand, a foot, or a leg involving the effective loss of use of that appendage;
  • Severe brain or closed-head injury as evidenced by severe sensory or motor disturbances, severe communication disturbances, severe complex integrated disturbances of cerebral function, severe episodic neurological disorders, or another severe brain and closed-head injury condition at least as severe in nature as any condition listed above;
  • Second-degree or third-degree burns of 25 percent or more of the total body surface or third-degree burns of 5 percent or more to the face and hands; or
  • Total or industrial blindness.

A worker can still be eligible for PTD benefits if he or she sustains an injury other than one of the conditions listed above, but the burden of proof shifts from the employer or insurance company to the employee. Injured workers become the parties that need to prove that they are not able to engage in at least sedentary employment within a 50-mile radius of their residences because their physical limitations.


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Payout of Permanent Total Disability Benefits in South Florida

If a worker is entitled to PTD benefits, then his or her employer’s workers’ compensation carrier will be paid 66 ⅔ percent (or two-thirds) of his or her average weekly wages during the continuance of such total disability. Injured workers generally continue to receive benefits until they reach 75 years of age—unless the employee is ineligible for Social Security benefits because his or her injury prevented him or her from working sufficient quarters to be eligible for such benefits.

If an accident occurred on or after the worked reached 70 years of age, PTD benefits are payable for five years following the determination of permanent total disability. In addition to PTD benefits, workers may also be entitled to supplemental benefits equal to 3 percent of their weekly compensation multiplied by the number of calendar years since their injuries.


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Florida Resources for Permanent Total Disability Benefits

Compensation for disability | Florida Statute § 440.15 — View the full text of the Florida statute that governs PTD benefits. Learn more about the rights of workers and the rights of employers and their insurance companies. Subdivision (f) also touches on supplemental benefits.

Blake v. Merck & Co., 43 So.3d 882, 883 (Fla. 1st DCA 2010) — In 2010, Florida’s First District Court of Appeal heard this case in which Nancy Blake appealed the denial of her claim for PTD benefits after she was injured in 2004. The Court of Appeal reversed and remanded the order because it said the Judge of Compensation Claims (JCC) “used an incorrect legal standard in denying PTD benefits,” “based on the erroneous assumption that, absent medical evidence of complete inability to work, a claimant is not entitled to PTD benefits without first performing a job search.” The Court of Appeal noted:

Under the version of section 440.15(1)(b) applicable to this 2004 date of accident, a claimant not presumptively PTD based on a listed injury "must establish that he or she is not able to engage in at least sedentary employment, within a 50-mile radius of the employee's residence, due to his or her physical limitation." § 440.15(1)(b), Fla. Stat. (2003). Thus, a claimant who does not have a listed injury may prove entitlement to PTD benefits by presenting evidence of (1) permanent medical incapacity to engage in at least sedentary employment, within a 50-mile radius of the employee's residence, due to physical limitation; (2) permanent work-related physical restrictions coupled with an exhaustive but unsuccessful job search; or (3) permanent work-related physical restrictions that, while not alone totally disabling, preclude Claimant from engaging in at least sedentary employment when combined with vocational factors.


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The Hoffman Firm | Miami Permanent Total Disability Benefits Lawyer

If you or your loved one suffered a serious injury on the job in South Florida, it is in your best interest to retain legal counsel for help possibly securing PTD benefits. The Hoffman Firm represents clients throughout Broward County, Miami-Dade County, and Palm Beach County.

Miami workers’ compensation attorney Evan A. Hoffman not only holds employers accountable for workplace injuries, but he can also file lawsuits in cases that involve third-party negligence. Call (305) 940-2307 or submit an online contact form today to set up a free consultation that will let our lawyer review your case.


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All fields are required. The use of this form for communication with our personnel does not establish an attorney-client relationship.

Evan A. Hoffman

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.

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