Doctor’s Orders Can Prove Disability in a Workers’ Compensation Claim.

Steve Rocha v. City of Tampa / Commercial Risk Management-First District Court of Appeals

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To receive workers’ compensation in Florida, a claimant must prove that he or she was “disabled” and unable to work. A recent case heard in Florida’s First District Court of Appeals proved that a medical doctor’s orders restricting a patient from performing their normal job functions qualify a person as disabled.

Firefighter Steve Rocha suffered from hypertension. He received the diagnosis as a result of tests during his annual medical physical. His doctor restricted him to light-duty at work. This restriction prevented him from performing his normal duties as a firefighter.

Mr. Rocha filed for workers’ compensation for the period of time that he was restricted from his normal job functions. The Judge of Compensation Claims (JCC) found that although he met most requirements to receive workers’ compensation, he failed to prove that he was disabled.

Mr. Rocha appealed the ruling, arguing that his work restrictions ordered by a medical doctor satisfied the Florida Statute requirement.

The First District Court of Appeals reversed the JCC’s finding and remanded the case for entry of an order finding compensability.

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