2016 Permanent Total Disability and Fraud Trial- $273,000 Present Value
Client is a 54 year old relatively illiterate worker. He sustained a low back injury and when released to go back to work with restrictions the Employer sent him to do volunteer work at a few local agencies. Eventually restrictions were decreased and the Employer, at the behest of the Workers’ Compensation insurance company, took him back to work. However the “work” was determined by the Judge of Compensation Claims to be sheltered employment. That means that the job was not a real job that would be open to an individual who applies through the open labor market. The employee was allowed to come and go as he pleased, work whatever hours he wished, work unsupervised, and basically do almost no physical activities during the work day. No other employees were afforded this luxury. Consequently, the Judge found this employment to be sheltered and awarded Permanent Total Disability benefits accordingly.
In addition to denying this employee permanent total disability payments, the Employer attempted to prove that the Employee had committed fraud by accepting money from a roommate. The Judge of Compensation Claims did not believe that the Employee committed any fraud with the intent of receiving Workers’ Compensation benefits. As such, this Employee’s award will not only include permanent total disability payments but will also include all of his related medical care into the future.