News

20TH ANNUAL WORKERS’ COMPENSATION SEMINAR

When:  Tuesday, October 5, 2021 from 1:00 PM to 4:30 PM EDT Where:  Virtual Seminar Agenda: 1:00 p.m. Welcome presented by:  Scott C. Ford, Esq. 1:10 p.m. TBIs and Concussion – Phony or Real?  Understanding the Medical & Legal Components presented by:  Scott W. Sautter, Ph.D., Audrey M. Marcello, Esq., Brian J. McNamara, Esq. 2:30 p.m. Review of Recent Important Legal Decisions – Is it Compensable or Not? presented by:  Scott C. Ford, Esq., Brian A. Richardson, Esq., Kwabena A. Akowuah, Esq. 4:15 p.m. Updates at the Commission and Legislative Updates presented by:  Corinne M. Bahner, Esq. This program has...

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Full Commission Issues Opinion on First COVID-19 Claim

The Full Commission days ago ruled upon the first claim for benefits associated with COVID-19 to reach them: Rountree v. Traditions Seniors Management, Inc., JCN No. VA00001742408 (June 9, 2021). The Full Commission affirmed the finding of the Deputy Commissioner that the claimant failed to meet her burden of establishing that her diagnosis for COVID-19 was either a disease or an injury by accident. The claimant, a licensed practical nurse at a long-term care facility, contended that she had been exposed to COVID-19 at work through a co-worker. Claimant alleged that this co-worker worked in close proximity to her, coughed...

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Legalization of Marijuana is Coming to Virginia – And Sooner Rather Than Later

Effective July 1, 2020, we saw the decriminalization of marijuana in Virginia. Legislation passed then provided for a civil penalty of $25.00 for possession of up to one ounce of marijuana. No arrests could be made and no criminal records could be created. The legislation explicitly sealed past marijuana convictions from employers and school administrators. Later in 2020, legislation was passed which allowed individuals to pre-pay their civil penalties, much like a traffic citation, which eliminated the need to appear in court. Even greater strides were taken by the 2021 Virginia General Assembly. Legislation was enacted to legalize the cultivation,...

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The Supreme Court of Virginia Again Reverses a Case Decided Against an Employer at Every Level Below

For many years, it has been assumed that if a claimant had one limb severely injured in an occupational injury, and a second limb severely injured as a compensable consequence, those two injured limbs could form the basis of a claim for permanent and total disability. The Supreme Court of Virginia disproved that assumption this week in Merck & Co., Inc. v. Vincent, Record No. 20022 (2021). Vincent, a pharmaceutical sales representative for Merck & Co., Inc. (“Merck”) injured his neck and left upper extremity while making a sales call at a physician’s office. The Commission awarded the claimant with...

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The Mystery of the Disappearing Chair: The Commission Finds an Explanation for an Unexplained Accident

In every case, a claimant is required to prove two things by a preponderance of the evidence: (1) that their accident occurred in the course of their employment and (2) that their injury was caused by some condition of the employment that put them at greater risk of injury than the general public. In Virginia Workers’ Compensation 101, employers, attorneys, adjusters, and claims administrators learned that simple acts of walking, bending, and standing – without more – were not compensable and should be denied. Similarly, if an injured worker could not explain what caused their accident, their claim should be...

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Newly Enacted Va. Code § 65.2-706.2 Will Limit Defense of Res Judicata Before the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission and May Open Door for Piecemeal Litigation

Governor Northam signed into law SB No. 1351 on March 31, 2021. This new law will go into effect July 1, 2021 as Va. Code § 65.2-706.2. It provides as follows: No order by the Commission awarding or denying benefits shall bar by res judicata any claim by an employee or cause a waiver, abandonment or dismissal of any claim by an employee if the order does not expressly adjudicatie such claim. This new law is most certainly a reaction to cases such as Brock v. Voith Siemens Hydro Power Generation, 59 Va. App. 39, 716 S.E.2d 485 (2011) that...

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Refusal of COVID-19 Vaccine, If Offered, Could Bar Recovery in COVID-19 Workers’ Compensation Claims

The COVID-19 pandemic has proved an interesting challenge to workers’ compensation systems around the country. Specifically, there has been a significant push for providing for coverage of healthcare workers and other front-line workers who have faced, and continue to face, a greater risk of exposure than the majority of the population. After Virginia’s first attempt at a bill to provide for a healthcare provider COVID-19 presumption was passed by indefinitely during the 2020 Special Session I, it ultimately succeeded in both chambers during the 2021 Special Session, and was signed into law by Governor Northam on March 31, 2021. This...

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2021 Virginia General Assembly Session

The Virginia General Assembly at its 2021 Regular Session and 2021 Special Session produced several new pieces of legislation of particular interest – please click here to read this article

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