Are Firefighters and Law Enforcement Officers Entitled to Workers’ Compensation in Florida?
If you are a firefighter or law enforcement officer who has suffered an injury or become disabled, you need to understand whether you are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits in Florida.
Consult with a Tampa workers’ compensation attorney at Kobal Law to discuss your particular situation and assist you with filing a claim to obtain benefits.
Are firefighters and law enforcement officers eligible for workers’ compensation?
Yes, firefighters and law enforcement officers are considered a special class of protected workers who may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits if their disability was caused by tuberculosis, a heart condition, or hypertension.
Normally, workers who sustain on-the-job injuries or work-related illnesses are required to prove a link between work and injury or disability. However, Section 112.18, Florida Statutes, eliminates this requirement for firefighters, police officers, probation officers, and other law enforcement officers.
In other words, when one of the protected class workers becomes disabled due to heart disease, hypertension, or tuberculosis, the law presumes that the partial or total disability is the result of the worker’s job.
How can firefighters and law enforcement officers seek workers’ comp benefits?
In order to seek workers’ compensation benefits under the aforementioned section of the Florida Statutes, firefighters and law enforcement officers must prove that their case meets the four requirements to qualify for benefits:
- You meet the definition of a protected class worker under the law;
- Your disability is related to tuberculosis, hypertension, or heart health.
- You passed a pre-employment physical exam before becoming a firefighter or law enforcement officer;
- You have not postponed or canceled medical treatment for any related medical conditions in the past; and
- You have experienced either partial or total disability due to the disabling condition.
What are the other requirements to receive workers’ comp benefits?
Contrary to popular belief, simply being diagnosed with one of three conditions (tuberculosis, hypertension, or heart disease) is not enough to qualify for workers’ comp benefits under Section 112.18, Florida Statutes.
In order to be entitled to benefits, the firefighter or law enforcement officer must prove that their condition resulted in a disability and impacted their ability to earn income.
You might be eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits even if the disabling event (e.g., a heart attack or stroke) occurred outside of work hours. Florida law presumes that the nature of the job caused or worsened the worker’s disabling condition.
Under Florida law, firefighters and law enforcement officers must report their disabling condition to their employer within 90 days of being advised by their doctor to restrict their work due to the disabling condition. If the employer’s insurance company denies your claim, you have two years to bring a new claim.
Unfortunately, not all workers’ compensation claims filed by firefighters and law enforcement officers are accepted. If your claim was denied, you should not hesitate to contact an experienced attorney to review your situation and help you receive the compensation you deserve.
Talk to our results-driven and knowledgeable workers’ compensation lawyers at Kobal Law to discuss your situation. Call 813-873-2440.