Commission Further Defines What Constitutes a Compensable Injury by Accident

wORKERS’ COMPENSATION DEFENSE DIGEST | JANUARY 2022

The claim below represents another example of how the Commission is distinguishing compensable, identifiable events from non-compensable cumulative/repetitive trauma. 

INTRODUCTION

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McCandlish Holton’s Top 5 From 2021

As we prepare to welcome 2022, we revisit five memorable McCandlish Holton moments from 2021 worth sharing, celebrating and commemorating during a globally challenging year, complicated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The following is a list of inclusion, not order,  featuring our firm’s top five from 2021:

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Recent Opinion Finds Employers Responsible for Cost of FCE Impairment Rating

This Recent Opinion is a Departure

In its recent Opinion in Elliott v. Sam Green Vault Corp., JCN VA00001108316 (Oct. 5, 2021), the Commission departs from its prior rulings, with one Commissioner dissenting. 

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McCandlish Holton Ranked for 13 Practice Areas by U.S. News - Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms” 2022

The 2022 Edition Ranks three practice areas for the first time

The 2022 Edition of US News – Best Lawyers® ranks thirteen McCandlish Holton PC practice areas, including three practice areas that are newly ranked:

McCandlish Holton PC received metropolitan Richmond Tier 1 ratings in three practice areas:

To be eligible for a practice area ranking, a firm must first have a lawyer recognized in The Best Lawyers in America®, which recognizes 5% of lawyers practicing in the United States. In 2022, McCandlish Holton PC has 17 attorneys recognized by Best Lawyers

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Discrete Event vs. Injury Over Time: The Supreme Court Weighs In

WORKERS COMPENSATION CASE WATCH

On August 26, 2021, the Supreme Court of Virginia issued an Opinion in City of Charlottesville, et al. v. Sclafani, Record No. 200791 (Va. Aug. 26, 2021), which provides additional guidance regarding the Van Buren “injury by accident” line of cases. 

After a series of appeals and remands, the Court of Appeals affirmed the Commission’s determination that Sclafani, a police officer, sustained a compensable injury by accident when he injured his left shoulder during a four-hour afternoon training session.*  During that session, the claimant’s activities included being put on the ground and handcuffed, picked up, and moved away. 

The Supreme Court disagreed with the reasoning of the Court of Appeals, noting that the Court of Appeals seems to establish a “bright line rule that a four hour time period is sufficiently temporally precise to establish a compensable injury under the Act.” 

The Supreme Court found that asserting that an injury occurred over a four hour time period where multiple potential causative events occurred is not enough to establish

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Impending Legalization of Marijuana in Virginia Raises New Issues for Workers’ Compensation Compensability

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Court of Appeals: Pharmacies are Health Care Providers Subject to One Year Statute of Limitations

WORKERS COMPENSATION CASE WATCH

In Summit Pharmacy, Inc. v. Costco Wholesale, Record No. 0970-20-1 (Mar. 30, 2021), the claimant was under a medical award. Summit Pharmacy (“Summit”) provided prescriptions to the claimant for her injury and the employer made partial payments to Summit for those prescriptions. Four years after Summit received its last partial payment from the employer, Summit filed a claim seeking full repayment.

Va. Code § 65.2-605.1 allows health care providers to file claims contesting the

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Updates From The Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission & General Assembly

WORKERS’ COMPENSATION DEFENSE DIGEST | FEB 2021

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The Compensability of Vaccine Side Effects

SPECIAL EDITION | Coronavirus & Comp Updates

Read the full 4-part Workers’ Comp and COVID-19 Update.

The Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission has awarded medical and indemnity benefits for adverse reactions to vaccines given to prevent the flu, tuberculosis, Hepatitis B, and smallpox. In those cases, the Commission evaluated whether the vaccine was an inherent risk of employment and whether the vaccine caused the claimant’s symptoms.

To determine whether a side effect of a vaccine constitutes a compensable injury by accident, the Commission considers factors including:

  1. whether the alleged side effect can be medically linked to the vaccine;
  2. whether the vaccine was required by the employer; and
  3. whether the vaccine was encouraged by the employer.

CASE LAW ANALYSIS

4 cases where claims of vaccine-related workplace injury were evaluated

CASE NO. 1 | COMPENSABLE

In Overton v. Augusta Correctional Center[1], correctional officers were regularly exposed to blood, urine, and feces at work. Due to these exposures the employer required the claimant to attend a meeting about blood borne pathogens. During the mandatory meeting,

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Supreme Court of Virginia Rules on Obvious Sudden Mechanical or Structural Change in Workers’ Compensation Case

WORKERS’ COMPENSATION CASE WATCH

In Handel v. Alexandria City Public Schools, (October 15, 2020) the Supreme Court of Virginia found that the Court of Appeals incorrectly applied and defined the legal requirement of an “obvious sudden mechanical or structural change in the body.”

The claimant, a teacher, slipped on a puddle on her classroom floor.  She landed on her right side, alleging injuries to several body parts.   The parties agreed that the claimant sustained several injuries in the fall, but

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