Catastrophic Injury

A catastrophic injury is a severe injury that typically causes long-term or permanent disability. Employees who suffer this kind of injury are often eligible for additional workers’ compensation benefits in Florida.

What Is a Catastrophic Injury?

A catastrophic injury, within the context of Florida workers’ compensation law, refers to a severe and debilitating injury that has profound and long-lasting effects on the injured worker’s life and ability to work.

While the Workers’ Compensation Act in Florida does not explicitly define catastrophic injury, it typically encompasses injuries such as the following.

  • Severe Traumatic Brain Injuries: Injuries resulting in significant cognitive impairment, memory loss, or permanent neurological deficits.
  • Spinal Cord Injuries: Injuries leading to paralysis, loss of sensation, or loss of motor function in one or more limbs.
  • Amputations: Loss of a limb or extremity, which severely impacts the individual’s ability to perform daily activities and work-related tasks.
  • Severe Burns: Extensive burns covering a large percentage of the body, which may require prolonged medical treatment and rehabilitation and cause permanent disfigurement or impairment.
  • Blindness or Vision Loss: Permanent and severe impairment of vision, which significantly affects the individual’s ability to perform work-related tasks and activities of daily living.

Florida Workers’ Compensation Benefits for Catastrophic Injuries

The significance of catastrophic injuries in Florida workers’ compensation lies in the enhanced benefits and coverage provided to workers who sustain such injuries. Under Florida law, workers who suffer catastrophic injuries may be entitled to additional benefits beyond those available for non-catastrophic injuries.

Catastrophic Injury

Lifetime Medical Benefits

Florida workers’ compensation pays for medical treatment until an injured worker recovers, reaches maximum medical improvement, or accepts a settlement.  This ensures that workers have access to the necessary medical care to maximize their recovery and quality of life.

Workers who suffer catastrophic injuries usually need long-term medical treatment and rehabilitation. They may need treatment for the rest of their lives. This impacts the settlement amount for a workers’ compensation claim.

Permanent Total Disability Benefits

In cases where catastrophic injuries result in permanent and total disability, injured workers may be eligible to receive ongoing disability benefits until they reach the age of 75. If the worker does not qualify for Social Security due to the injury, the worker can receive PTD benefits for the rest of his/her life.

Vocational Rehabilitation Services

Injured workers may be eligible for vocational rehabilitation services to help them develop new skills, explore alternative employment opportunities, and re-enter the workforce in a capacity suitable to their abilities and limitations.

Death Benefits

In cases where catastrophic injuries result in the death of the worker, surviving dependents may be entitled to death benefits, including funeral expenses and ongoing financial support.

Summary

Catastrophic injuries are severe and often result in long-term or permanent disability. Employees who suffer these types of injuries may be eligible for special benefits.

By recognizing the severity and long-term impact of catastrophic injuries, the workers’ compensation system strives to provide adequate compensation, medical care, and resources to help injured workers rebuild their lives and move forward after sustaining life-altering injuries in the workplace.

If you need a Florida workers’ compensation lawyer, contact us today! For more workers’ compensation terms, visit our glossary page.