Workers' Compensation Case Watch
In Woods v. Mecklenburg County Public Schools, VA00001320337, (7/19/19), the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission declined to assess a 20% penalty against the defendants for late payment of benefits.
The claimant settled his case and the Commission approved the settlement Order. The parties had thirty days to appeal the Order. Under Va Code § 65.2-524 payment was due within two weeks after the appeal period expired or a 20% penalty would be added. One day before the penalty would apply, the defendant mailed payment to the claimant at his address of record by certified mail, requiring a signature from the recipient.
The claimant argued that payment was late because of the signature requirement. The claimant also argued that the Commission should have taken judicial notice of the fact that a person must come to the post office to sign a receipt for certified mail.
The Commission disagreed noting that Va Code § 65.2-524 and Commission Rule 9.2 do not provide additional restrictions or requirements on the way that payment is mailed directly to the claimant at his address of record. The Commission held that the defendants satisfied the requirements of the applicable statute and rule and did not assess the 20% penalty.
Jessica Hacker Trivizas is a litigator who focuses her practice on workers’ compensation, defending employers and carriers at the trial and appellate levels. She works with insurance carriers, third-party administrators, and self-insureds. Jessica worked on some of the largest settlements in the country, including the historic NFL Concussion Settlement Program, the BP Oil Spill settlement, and the Reglan/MCP Settlement Program. Her background on these mass claims resolution programs gives her unique insight into the work of claims adjusters.