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Cancer Presumption Bill Approved by Florida Senate

Cancer Presumption Bill Approved by Florida Senate

January 27, 2017 marked an important day for Florida firefighters diagnosed with certain types of cancer. On this day, a Florida Senate committee unanimously approved a bill – Bill 158 – that would shift the burden of proof from certain work-related injuries from the claimant to the employer. The bill must be voted on by both houses of the Florida legislature and signed by the governor before it can become effective.

What does Bill 158 say?

Bill 158 establishes a presumption as to a firefighter’s health condition or impairment caused by certain types of cancer contracted in the line of duty. Section 2(a) of Bill 158 reads as follows:

“Any condition or impairment of the health of a firefighter employed full time by the state or any municipality, county, port authority, special tax district, or fire control district which is caused by multiple myeloma, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, prostate cancer, or testicular cancer and results in total or partial disability or death is presumed to have been accidental and to have been contracted in the line of duty unless the contrary is shown by competent evidence.”

How does this bill affect workers’ compensation cases?

If approved, there will be a presumption that any firefighters diagnosed with multiple myeloma, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, prostate cancer, or testicular cancer, contracted the disease as part of their work as firefighters. The government entity employing the afflicted firefighter can attempt to demonstrate – by providing “competent evidence” – that the condition was not work-related.

Certain requirements must be met

The bill outlines certain requirements that must be met for a firefighter to qualify for this presumption. These requirements are as follows:

  • Successfully passing a physical examination administered prior to the individual beginning service as a firefighter; the results must fail to reveal any evidence of such a health condition
  • Individual must be employed as a firefighter with the current employer for a minimum of five continuous years prior to becoming totally or partially disabled or prior to their death
  • Prior to becoming totally or partially disabled or before his/her death, individual must not have used tobacco products for at least five years
  • During the preceding five years, the individual may not have been employed in any other position – including employment as a firefighter at another employing agency — that is proven to create an increased risk for multiple myeloma, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, prostate cancer, or testicular cancer

If a physical was not performed at the time of hiring or immediately thereafter, the presumption stands assuming all the other requirements are met.

Pending workers’ compensation changes have profound impact, so rely on a Board Certified workers’ compensation lawyer for guidance

Florida’s workers’ compensation laws are complex and pending changes to these laws have a profound impact on injured workers. If you are a firefighter who has been diagnosed with a work-related condition, or are a worker who has suffered a workplace injury, we are here to help. For more than 25 years, Board Certified workers’ compensation attorney Joseph M. Rooth has been helping injured workers secure the benefits they deserve. Knowledgeable, compassionate, and personally dedicated to each case, attorney Rooth serves clients throughout the Tampa Bay area, with convenient offices in New Port Richey, Spring Hill, Seminole and Clearwater. To schedule a free consultation with attorney Rooth, contact the office at 727-849-3400 or online.

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What Are Florida’s Workers’ Comp Guidelines?

You may be familiar with the words “workers’ compensation” in general terms, but perhaps never gave it much thought. Until you suffer a workplace injury. Then it is critical that you understand this insurance system. Workers’ compensation benefits can provide much needed financial assistance if you have been injured as a direct result of your employment.

What is workers’ compensation?

Workers’ compensation law requires that employers pay, or provide the insurance to pay, an employee’s lost wages and medical expenses if they are injured or disabled in connection with their employment. The key point to recognize regarding these benefits is that, because workers’ compensation is a type of insurance, an employee cannot sue his or her employer for any work-related injuries that have been covered by this insurance. Every state has its own workers’ compensation insurance program and specific guidelines regarding who must provide this insurance and under what circumstances benefits can be received.

Florida Workers’ Compensation

In the state of Florida, all employers with four or more employees must provide workers’ compensation insurance to their employees. There are exceptions to this rule. Employers in the construction industry who employ only one or more employees are required to provide workers’ compensation insurance. Florida farmers with a minimum of five regular employees and an additional twelve or more seasonal employees must also carry coverage.

What if I am at fault?

Blame is not an issue when it comes to workers’ compensation. Under the law, employees have a right to receive workers’ compensation benefits even if they are at fault. Unless, however, the employee is intoxicated or under the influence of narcotics at the time of the work-related accident, then that employee is not entitled to benefits.

Under what circumstances can I receive benefits?

To qualify for workers’ compensation benefits, the employee must show that the injury was a major contributing cause of any resulting injuries.

What medical benefits am I entitled to?

Injured employees are entitled to receive medical benefits and any necessary medical treatment to help them recover from the injuries sustained as a result of the work-related injury. Only treatments that assist with the employee’s recovery or helps to improve their condition is covered under workers’ compensation. This may include a wide range of treatments, from medicine to physical therapy, chiropractic care, or having custodial care. The employee must select a physician from the employer’s list of authorized providers or the employer may designate a provider. Only medical providers approved by the employer are authorized to treat injuries suffered in work-related accidents.

What about loss of income?

Workers’ compensation includes repayment of lost wages due to the work-related injury. Florida laws provide four types of wage benefits: temporary partial disability (TPD), temporary total disability (TTD), permanent total disability (PTD) and impairment benefits (IB’s).

Are There any Other Benefits?

Death benefits are available if an employee dies as a result of a work-related injury.  In this circumstance, the employee’s dependents are entitled to a percentage of the employee’s wages, subject to certain limits. A burial allowance is also available.

Contact a skilled New Port Richey workers’ comp lawyer for a free consultation

Worker’s compensation laws are complex. If you have suffered a workplace injury, consult with an experienced attorney who can determine if you are eligible to receive benefits. Skilled Florida workers’ comp attorney Joseph M. Rooth is experienced in workers’ compensation law and fights for you to ensure you receive the benefits and wage compensation you deserve. With offices in New Port Richey, Spring Hill, Seminole and Clearwater, attorney Rooth helps clients in New Port Richey and throughout the Tampa Bay area.  To schedule a free consultation, contact attorney Rooth at 727-849-3400 or online.

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Long Wait Times for Social Security Disability Benefits in Florida Are Putting the Most Needy at Risk

Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits are taking longer than ever to receive. Almost every applicant is forced to go through the appeals process after their initial applications are rejected. The wait list to get SSD appeals heard in Tampa is often longer than two years. All the while, applicants are forced to fend for themselves—leaving many of them homeless and unable to afford the medicine they desperately need.

The appeals are heard before a judge that considers evidence from the government demonstrating inability to maintain and support one’s self with a full-time job. Persuading the judge that you are unfit to maintain any type of full-time employment can be surprisingly difficult. The percentage of applicants that are able to win their appeals without an experienced Tampa SSD appeals attorney is close to zero.

Having an attorney prepare your case for the first appeal is often the difference between getting the benefits you deserve and having to find a way to survive until you are able to get another appeal. It takes months for an experienced Tampa SSD benefits attorney to prepare a case and gather the necessary medical records. The burden of proof is on the SSD claimant to prove that they have a medical situation that prevents them from being able to support their self through any type of full-time employment.

There are no answers in sight to ending the long wait times for SSD benefits claimants in Florida. Claimants need to do everything they can to ensure that they receive the benefits they deserve during the first opportunity for an appeal. Experts strongly recommend that anyone pursuing benefits retain an experienced SSD appeals attorney to help them prepare their case.

At the Rooth Law Firm in New Port Richey, clients receive the personalized attention you expect from a small law firm with the SSD expertise expected from a large law firm. We offer free initial consultations and a flexible schedule for your convenience. Call us at 727-849-3400 or contact us online to schedule an appointment. We help clients in Clearwater, New Port Richey, Seminole, Tampa and throughout the Tampa Bay area.

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What Is The Amount Of A Monthly Disability Benefit Payment That I Can Expect to Receive in Florida?

Will I bring in enough money to make ends meet?

After an injury or illness causes partial or permanent disability, you need to know exactly how much money you will be able to receive from a monthly Social Security disability payment while you are residing in the State of Florida. After an accident or injury, there are mounting medical bills to pay as well as  and day-to-day expenses. It can be a time of high anxiety if  you are no longer able to work. If you have been disabled, it is important to understand how disability payments work, and how much you will expect to receive each month.

There are two types of disability payments. Social Security Disability Insurance payments (also known as SSDI), and Supplemental Security Income (known as SSI).  These acronyms may be familiar, but each program differs from the other slightly.

SSDI benefits are paid to those who have worked and have accumulated a specific number of work credits. Monthly payments will be based upon your earnings before your disability.  SSI payments are based solely upon financial need.  To qualify you must have $2,000 in assets ($3,000 if you are married), and have a very limited income.

SSDI payments are formulated based on the amount of work credits that you earned up until your injury. These payments will vary based upon the amount of time you worked and your rate of pay. They generally run between $300 per month up to $2,200 per month.

SSI payments are not based on income. These benefits are based upon need only. These payments are a set amount that change each year depending upon factors such as national cost-of-living estimates and the loss or acquisition of any assets. These payments can be between $700 per month up to $1,000 per month.

If you have been the victim of an injury, motor vehicle accident, or sudden illness, contact an experienced New Port Richey Social Security Disability attorney to better understand your SSI or SSDI benefits.

New Port Richey Social Security attorney Joseph Rooth, has extensive knowledge and experience regarding Florida SSI and SSDI processes and claims. Attorney Rooth is a member of the National Organization of Social Security Claimant’s Representatives and knows how to get you the benefits you need. Contact us at 727-849-3400 or simply fill out a contact form. Offices in New Port Richey, Spring Hill, Seminole and Clearwater.

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