Material Misrepresentation on an Employment Application as a Defense to Workers' Compensation Claims

A Resource to Utilize in Workers' Comp Defense

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Using Social Media Evidence to Defend Workers' Compensation Claims

By: Eva C. Roffis

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A Winter Wonderland of Slips, Trips, and Falls on Snow and Ice

By: Amanda Tapscott Belliveau, Esq.

amanda-belliveau.jpgThe recent cold snap will likely result in an increase in claims alleging slips or falls on snow or ice.  The claims must be analyzed on a case-by-case basis in order to determine whether the injury arose out of and occurred in the course of the employment.

Arising out of Analysis

Generally, ice or snow will be considered an added risk.  However, a claimant must relate an injury to the ice or snow in these cases.  

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The Street Risk Doctrine

By: Worker's Compensation Practice Group

The busy months of November and December bring with them lots of traveling, which means employees may be driving in higher traffic conditions, sometimes on icy roads.  In regards to the compensability of motor vehicle accidents, Virginia follows the “street risk doctrine.”

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Explaining the Unexplained Accident

HubSpot Featured Image_Work Injury Claim Form (1)How often have you heard, “I don’t know why I fell?” Quite often, claimants will be unable to explain how the accident occurred but they will file for workers’ compensation benefits because the injury occurred at the workplace. These situations are known as unexplained accident claims and they can be difficult to navigate because the claimant has suffered an injury, which occurred in the course of her employment, but she can provide no explanation of how the accident occurred.

In Virginia, it is the claimant’s burden to show that there is a causal connection between the injury and her employment. This properly places the burden on the claimant to show a link between the accident and a condition of her workplace. Consequently, the accident which

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Smoking, Surgery, and Suspending Indemnity Benefits

By: Esther King, Esq.

With the cost of medical treatment ever on the rise, it is imperative that Claimants cooperate with the recommended medical care to optimize results, minimize the likelihood of repeat procedures, restore their health, and enable them to return to the workforce.

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OSHA Rules Out Mandatory Post-Accident Drug Screening

Employers need to keep in mind that, while tempting, mandatory post-accident drug/alcohol testing is no longer permitted.  Effective August, 2016, new OSHA reporting rules require employers to establish a reasonable procedure for employees to report workplace accidents and injuries – free from intimidation or retaliation.

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Medical Fee Schedule Coming to Virginia in January 2018

By: Lauren Ebersole Hutcheson, Esq.

Historically, in Virginia, an employer’s pecuniary liability for medical, surgical and hospital treatment has been limited to the prevailing rate in the community to determine the reasonableness of the charge pursuant to Va. Code 65.2-605. The uncertainty of the prevailing rate in the community resulted in numerous claims filed by medical providers against employers and carriers for reimbursement of write-offs. As of March 2016, Virginia was one of only 7 states to be without a standardized fee schedule.

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Injury By Accident In Virginia: It’s Alive Again!

Virginia case law has consistently held that in order to prove an “injury by accident,”  a claimant must show: 

“(1) an identifiable incident; (2) that occurs at some reasonably definite time; (3) an obvious sudden mechanical or structural change in the body; and (4) a causal connection between the incident and the bodily change.”  Chesterfield Co. v. Dunn, 9 Va. App. 475, 476, 389 S.E.2d 180, 181 (1990).  “Repetitive activity” or “repetitive trauma” injuries are not covered by the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Act.   However, in Van Buren v. Augusta County., 66 Va. App. 441 (2016), the Court of Appeals held that a firefighter who noticed neck and shoulder pain after a 45-minute rescue suffered an injury by accident.  The Commission followed that decision in Dugger v. Riverside Regional Jail Authority, JCN VA00001117636 (Jan. 3, 2017), holding that the claimant proved an injury by accident where she noticed a swollen knee after engaging in 4 hours of physical tactics training.   Those decisions suggested a fundamental change in the definition of “injury by accident.” 

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Are Injuries Sustained During Social Events Compensable?

By: Eva C. Roffis, Esq.

Typically, an injury sustained by a worker at a social or recreational event is not compensable. However, numerous factors must be examined in order to determine whether the claimant’s accident arose out of the employment.

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