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.

Read More

De Facto Award for Workplace Fall

By: Amanda Tapscott, Esq.

Claimants are arguing that de facto awards apply in their claims with increasing frequency.

Read More

Occupational Diseases in Virginia Workers’ Compensation Claims

By: The Worker's Compensation Team

When we think of workers’ compensation in Virginia, we typically think of injuries by accident.  Virginia law instructs us to look for a specific and identifiable event as the cause of an injury.  That being said, there are situations where a person is entitled to compensation for injuries that lack any type of identifiable event, these are known as “Occupational Diseases.”   

Read More

An Overview of Liability Under the Statutory Employer Doctrine

By: Emily C. Whitaker, Esq.

The leaves are beginning to turn and the holiday season is quickly approaching, which means it is the time of year when retail establishments often take on additional employees.  Some businesses contract out certain duties rather than having their own employees perform that work.  In Virginia, a business that contracts out work can be liable as a “statutory employer” if an employee of the contractor is injured on the job.  

Read More

Understanding the Legal Issues with Long-Term Opioid Use in Virginia Workers’ Compensation Claims

By: The Workers' Compensation Team

Long-term opioid abuse has become a front page issue throughout the country, as doctors, claimants, insurance companies, and employers struggle with the drastic increase in opioid prescriptions in recent years and the potentially disastrous effects of these medications.  A quick glance at recent statistics is alarming, as there have been 4,400 deaths in Virginia linked to opioids since 2007.  

Read More

When Does Inferring Go Too Far?

By: The Workers’ Compensation Practice Group

There has been a lot of discussion recently regarding the Commission’s ability to infer facts, particularly from the standpoint of the initial compensability of a claim. From the defense perspective, the willingness of the Commission to infer facts to support causation/compensability has been a cause for concern. Recently, the Court of Appeals addressed a Full Commission finding that the claimant’s injury arose out of his employment, based on an inference made by the Full Commission, in the case of United Airlines, Inc. v. Bryan Andrew Taylor, an unpublished Opinion.

Read More

The Coming and Going Rule

By: The Workers' Compensation Practice Group

On December 15, 2015, the Full Commission released its Opinion in Stiltner v. Pike Electric, JCN VA00001006840 (December 15, 2015), clarifying one of the exceptions to the coming and going rule. It is well-established that an accidental injury sustained when an employee is going to or leaving from his or her place of employment has not occurred in the course of the employment and is not therefore compensable. 

Read More

Addressing the Economic Loss Rule

By The Workers' Compensation Practice Group

The simple fact that a partially-disabled claimant has lost his job through no fault of his own does not mean the claimant is automatically entitled to disability benefits. As a general principle, “loss of employment should not be deemed due to disability if a worker without the disability would lose employment or suffer a reduction in earnings under the same economic conditions.” King William County v. Jones, No. 0576-15-2, 2015 Va. App. LEXIS 353, at *20 (Dec. 1, 2015). Instead, in order to receive benefits upon the loss of employment, the partially-disabled claimant must demonstrate “the wage loss is causally related to the partial incapacity.” Id. at 23.

Read More

Revisiting Layne v. Crist Electrical Contractor, Inc., 64 Va. App. 342 (2015)

By: The Workers' Compensation Practice Group

In Virginia, a finding that a claimant’s injury was caused by his or her own willful misconduct bars the claimant’s entitlement to benefits under the Workers’ Compensation Act.  If you tuned in for our June 2014 E-Blast, you may remember the case of Layne v. Crist, JCN No. VA02000002019 (May 20, 2014), in which the Full Commission took note of the conflicting case law surrounding the requirements of proving that the claimant’s injury was caused by his or her own willful misconduct. 

Read More

What’s a Medicare Set-Aside and When Do You Need One?

By: The Workers' Compensation Practice Group

When negotiating settlements and planning for future exposure in a claim, one issue to remain constantly aware of is the potential role that a Medicare Set-Aside (MSA) may play in your claim.  We must take Medicare’s interest into account in every workers’ compensation settlement.  Therefore, it is important to understand what a Medicare Set-Aside is, when you might need one, and what effect it can have on the handling of a claim.

Read More