Court Expands Florida First Responder Presumptions
A block buster case has expanded the reach of Florida First Responder Presumptions.
In Butler v. City of Jacksonville, 33 Fla. L. Weekly T3 84 (January 31, 2008) firefighter Butler was diagnosed as having hypertension, which in turn, caused artheroscleorsis, which in turn, caused peripheral vascular disease (PVD).
The First District held that because Mr. Butler was a firefighter, the Heart/Long bill found in section 112.18(1), excused him from “proving an occupational causation of a disease resulting in disability or death.” The burden of proof is on the employer “to show by clear and convincing evidence that disease was caused by a specific non-work related event were exposure.”
The City agreed Butler was entitled to the presumption as to his hypertension but “did not present any evidence, let alone clear and convincing evidence, that the claimant’s PVD was caused by a specific non-work-related event or exposure.”
If you have a presumed condition, such as tuberculosis, heart disease or hypertension, which causes other medical conditions, the presumption expands and include those otherwise non-compensable conditions. Your employer must present clear and convincing evidence that your presumed compensable condition condition or the progression of that condition was caused by a specific non-work-related event for exposure. Otherwise, you’re entitled to the presumption and Florida workers’ compensation benefits!
Answering these broad-based questions isn’t easy. Help is a phone call away. You can contact Nancy Cavey, an experienced long-term disability attorney at 727-894-3188.