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Firefighters ● Law Enforcement Officers ● Corrections Officers


The Heart/Lung Bill (Florida Statute 112.18)


Section 112.18(1), Florida Statutes states that:


Any condition or impairment of health of any Florida state, municipal, county, port authority, special tax district, or fire control district firefighter or any law enforcement officer, correctional officer, or correctional probation officer caused by tuberculosis, heart disease, or hypertension resulting in total or partial disability or death shall be presumed to have been accidental and to have been suffered in the line of duty unless the contrary be shown by competent evidence. However, any such firefighter or law enforcement officer must have successfully passed a physical examination upon entering into any such service as a firefighter or law enforcement officer, which examination failed to reveal any evidence of any such condition.


To Qualify for the Presumption, you must prove the following:


  1. That you are a Florida state, municipal, county, port authority, special tax district, or fire control district firefighter;

  2. That you had a “clean” pre-employment physical with employing agency that showed no evidence of hypertension or heart disease;

  3. That you have hypertension and/or heart disease; and,

  4. That you have been disabled due to hypertension and/or heart disease.



  • Hypertension, Heart Disease, TB are considered occupational diseases and are NOT what are legally considered “injuries by accident” (i.e. broken bones, burns, back strain).

  • The “presumption” is not a guarantee of job-relatedness, although the hypertension and heart disease are presumed to be work related if prerequisites are met.

  • The presumption is “rebuttable” (i.e., the employer can overcome the presumption by either competent, or clear and convincing evidence).

  • These claims are handled under Florida’s Workers’ Compensation Act – Chapter 440, Florida Statutes.


What is “Heart Disease”?


heart disease - n. - A structural or functional abnormality of the heart, or the blood vessels supplying the heart, that impairs its normal functioning.

Stedman’s Medical Dictionary


  • Heart Disease is a broad term and includes:

  • Coronary Artery Disease, Peripheral Artery Disease

  • Myocardial Infarction

  • Infections of the heart (Endocarditis, Myocarditis)

  • Arrythmias (PVCs, PACs, A-Fib, SVT, etc.)

  • Cardiomyopathies

  • Congestive Heart Failure

  • Others

What is Hypertension?


hy•per•ten•sion - n. - 1. Persistent high blood pressure. 2. Arterial disease in which chronic high blood pressure is the primary symptom.

Stedman’s Medical Dictionary


  • One high reading is usually not considered hypertension.

  • The vast majority of those with Hypertension are considered to have “essential” or “primary” hypertension.

  • A small percentage of those with Hypertension are considered to have “secondary” hypertension (due to adrenal tumors, kidney conditions, etc.)

  • Essential Hypertension is idiopathic (unknown cause), which serves the legislative intent of the Heart/Lung Bill.




  • Requires the physical with the employing agency.

  • A single, isolated, high blood pressure reading on the PEP by itself is not necessarily “evidence” of the “condition.”

  • “Whitecoat” hypertension?

  • If the employer does not offer a PEP, arguably no entitlement to presumption. See Cumbie v. City of Milton, 496 So.2d 923 (1st DCA 1986).

  • If the employer offers PEP post-employment (months later), presumption “may” apply.




  • Must be unable to do job duties as a result of hypertension and/or heart disease.

  • The latest case on this critical prong of the Heart/Lung Bill is Carney v. Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office, 26 So.2d 683 (1sr DCA 2009).

  • Police Officer missed fraction of a shift for treatment of his arrhythmia.  The 1st DCA said that’s sufficient to satisfy disability requirement.

  • If a doctor has put you out of work because of the condition (even to adjust your medication), you have satisfied this prerequisite.

  • Document the disability!




If all of those elements are met, your hypertension and/or heart disease is presumed to be a work-related injury, and you are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits just as you would be for any other on the job injury.


The only way the presumption may be overcome is by showing a specific, non-work related cause of the hypertension or heart disease.  This is otherwise known as “Rebutting the Presumption.”  This is very difficult, but not impossible, for the Employer to do.


If you have any questions about whether you qualify for the “Presumption” please either call, or pose the question(s) here.

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