I attended a Merits Hearing/bench trial before Judge Condry in the Orlando Workers’ Compensation Court yesterday. The purpose of the Hearing was to determine whether or not my client was permanently totally disabled under the Florida Workers’ Compensation laws. In order to be permanently disabled, we must prove that the claimant/client has one of the following: i) complete head injury, ii) loss of vision in both eyes, iii) loss of both arms, iv) loss of both legs or v) cannot find a job within fifty miles of his residence and has sedentary work restrictions.
A Merits Hearing is not a jury trial but is before a Judge of Compensation of Claims. As an Orlando Workers’ Compensation lawyer, I need to prove the case because I have the burden of proof. I prove the case by calling witnesses and providing medical records and vocational records to aid the Judge in his decision.
The first witness was the claimant. The Judge swore in the claimant and he testified about his prior work history, prior injuries, specific accident and his medical treatment post accident. The claimant also discussed his job searches and you must prove that he cannot find a job within fifty miles. This included him testifying to where he looked and what the response from the potential employers were at the time of contact. The claimant also discussed his disability and his inability to move and ambulate.
The second witness I had called was a vocational rehabilitation consultant. This individual is hired by my offices to prove that my client is unemployable. The case came down to whether he was employable and/or placeable in any job. My client had gone to all the job searches that the employer/carrier had provided and they did not have a job.
The third witness was called by the employer/carrier which was their vocational rehabilitation consultant. Their vocational rehabilitation consultant’s testimony was the opposite of mine. My cross examination of their expert was done to try to determine whether or not the jobs they provided were truly available.
The case is pending and I cannot comment on the potential outcome because briefs are due. If you have been injured and need someone to represent you in a Workers Compensation Merits Hearing/Trial, please contact our Orlando workers compensation lawyer through our web site http://www.frankeidson.com or call toll free at (888)245-2855 or locally at 407-315-2182.