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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19th Annual Workers’ Compensation Seminar is Virtual

JOIN US FROM ANYWHERE

Join us virtually on October 14, 2020 for the premier workers’ compensation event in the Mid-Atlantic Region presented via webcast from Richmond, Virginia. 

We are happy to provide you with the same high-quality programming to which you have become accustomed, with the ability to attend from the safety and comfort of your own home or office.

A FULL DAY OF PROGRAMMING & CE/CEU’s

Our Annual seminar features a full day of timely and useful information. It includes free CE/CEU’s for adjusters, risk managers, employers, nurse case managers, and brokers. Our application is pending for up to 7 credits.

Credits for attending individual sessions are APPROVED for:

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Payment of Medical Bills Sought Despite None Owed

WORKERS COMPENSATION CASE WATCH

The claimant had previously settled his workers’ compensation claim.  Following settlement approval, the claimant, by counsel, filed a claim seeking full payment of medical services from a medical provider.  Partial payment of the bills had been made, with an outstanding balance of approximately $25,000 remaining. 

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Proposed Bills Seek to Create Presumption for some COVID-19 Claims under the Workers’ Compensation Act

COVID-19 EDITION | Coronavirus & Comp Updates

LEGISLATIVE ALERT

      • Several bills regarding COVID-19 and its treatment under workers’ compensation have been introduced at this week’s Special Session of the Virginia General Assembly.

      • Specifically, these bills seek to establish a presumption of compensability for COVID-19 have been referred to committee for consideration. See details below for proposed bills: HB 5028; SB 5066, SB 5097, and SB 5104;  and SB 5022.

HB 5028 

Proposed amendment to Va. Code §65.2-402.1, to be retroactive to January 1, 2020: COVID-19 causing the death of, or any health condition or impairment resulting in total or partial disability of, any (i) firefighter, as defined in § 65.2-102; (ii) law-enforcement officer, as

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Virginia’s Department of Labor and Industry Enacts COVID-Related Workplace Safety Standards

Requirements for employers and what employers should do now 

§ i6VAC25-220

By Samantha Stecker Otero

DOWNLOAD 1 PAGE PDF WITH KEY POINTS FROM THIS SUMMARY

On July 15, 2020, Virginia became the first state in the country to adopt an Emergency Standard for COVID-Related Workplace Safety, which applies to all employers in the Commonwealth.  In essence, the regulations require employers to analyze their worksites and the tasks that each employee performs, in order to effectively categorize the COVID-related risks inherent in those workplaces and/or tasks.

Once the categorization of risk is made, employers will then be required to abide by various requirements for each level of risk. The Emergency Standard is in effect, however the requirements regarding training and implementation of infectious disease plans (for employers in the “very high”, “high” and “medium” risk categories) will not become effective for 30-60 days. Additional guidance will be forthcoming from DOLI.

Virginia employers will need to comply with the Emergency Standard or potentially face

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Supreme Court Affirms Permanency Ratings Given Before Implantation of a Prosthesis

WORKERS COMPENSATION CASE WATCH

In Loudoun County v. Richardson, the claimant injured his hip in a work accident.  The claimant’s treating physician performed a hip replacement surgery and then gave the claimant an 11% rating for loss of use.  Later, the treating physician was asked to calculate the claimant’s level of impairment before the hip replacement surgery, which the doctor determined was 74%.

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Coronavirus and a Remote Workforce: A Dual Review of Workers’ Compensation & Employment Law Concerns


SPECIAL EDITION | Coronavirus & Comp Updates

      • The effects of the coronavirus pandemic have caused many changes in how we work in Virginia.  Office workers and teachers are some of the many types of employees who have transitioned to working remotely because of Governor Northam’s Executive Orders closing schools and encouraging telework. With a large part of the workforce working remotely and/or from home, there are several issues for employers and carriers to consider.  

Workers’ Compensation Concerns

Arising Out Of

Added risks in the employee’s home workspace are likely to be “conditions of the work place” meeting the arising out of element of a workers’ compensation claim. 

Three Case Examples:

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Coronavirus, Nursing Homes and In-Home Care Providers

SPECIAL EDITION | Coronavirus & Comp Updates

      • Compensability and Burden of Proof

A nursing home employee or in-home health care professionals can prove a compensable coronavirus claim, by showing that their coronavirus diagnosis:

1. arose out of and in the course of the employment;

2. did not come from causes outside of work; and, 

3. that coronavirus is an infectious or contagious disease contracted in the course of employment in a nursing home or in the direct delivery of healthcare.

The second and third elements will likely be the most difficult to prove.  

Nursing Homes are at the Highest Risk of Being Affected

However, as COVID-19 spreads in the United States, confirmed cases in nursing homes and long-term care facilities have continued to rise. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) has indicated that nursing homes are at the highest risk of being

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All COVID-19 Related Updates From The Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission (VWC) and More

COVID-19 EDITION | Coronavirus & Comp Updates

The Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission (VWC) is responsible for carrying out the requirements of the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Act, while administering Virginia's workers’ compensation program, meeting legal requirements and providing various protections.

Also included are relevant updates from other organizations, such as the WCIO.  

We will continually update this article as announcements are made. Scroll to the list of  links to each Order with summaries appearing below.

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Coronavirus and Workers' Compensation in Virginia - Part 4: Presumption Claims and the Unknown Effects of Coronavirus

SPECIAL EDITION | Coronavirus & Comp Updates

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

At this point, the full impact of the coronavirus is unknown.  The American College of Cardiology’s website states that “the specific effects of COVID-19 on the cardiovascular system remain unclear, although there have been reports of acute cardiac injury, hypotension, tachycardia, and a high proportion of concomitant cardiovascular disease in infected individuals…we’re all

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