News

2020 Virginia Legislative Update

Last year was an election year for all seats in the General Assembly, and it resulted in a significant power shift. Republicans had controlled both houses of the General Assembly since 2015, and at least one house of the legislature or the Governorship every year since 1994. The 2019 elections saw Democrats gain control of the General Assembly, and the party already held all of the statewide elected offices (Governor, Lt. Governor and Attorney General). As anticipated, this resulted in an active legislative session in which the vast majority of workers’ compensation bills that passed substantially favor the interests of...

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Understanding Attendant Care Exposure In Virginia

A foundational principle of the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Act is that, as long as necessary after an accident, “the employer shall furnish or cause to be furnished, free of charge to the injured employee, a physician and other necessary medical attention.” (Va. Code Section 65.2-603.) In cases where the injured employee sustains catastrophic injuries, other medical attention may include the employer and carrier being held responsible for 24-hour attendant care. In rare cases, the carrier may even be held responsible for compensating a member of the injured worker’s family for providing that attendant care. In a recent Opinion, the Commission...

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Reopening Guidelines for Virginia Employers Following COVID-19

As Virginia starts to ease public health restrictions amid COVID-19, businesses in the process of reopening will be confronted with new challenges. Specifically, employers will have to develop and implement appropriate policies in accordance with various federal, state and local regulations geared towards mitigating the spread of the virus. While each business’s strategy will be unique depending on the business type and the industry, we hope you can use the below steps as a starting point as you navigate this “new normal.” We also encourage insurance carriers to share the below suggestions with their employers as the economy gradually reopens....

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UPDATED – Free Virtual Training for Advanced Adjusters on Often Overlooked Claim Defenses & Mitigation Strategies

To view a recording of this event, click here Experienced adjusters – stay current with an advanced course in the law as we explored often overlooked claim defenses and mitigation strategies. Training was led by Scott Ford, Brian Richardson, Kwabena Akowuah, Audrey Marcello and Brian McNamara. This was an interactive event with real-time questions answered via chat. Occurred – Friday, May 22, 2020 from 10:00 AM to 11:30 AM EDT We appreciate you taking the time to listen.

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A Physician May Get Hit With Punitive Damages When Improperly Prescribing Opioids In Virginia

Last summer in my article— State of Oklahoma v. Purdue Pharma L.P., et al.— Is this a Tipping Point for a Wave of Larger Verdict Against Opioid Prescribers, Manufacturers, Distributors and Retailers?— I addressed likely future lawsuits stemming from the ongoing opioid crisis in this country. Earlier this month the Supreme Court of Virginia in a unanimous decision held that a trial court had erred when not permitting a jury to determine if punitive damages should be awarded against a doctor whose patient overdosed on prescribed opioids. The case is Curtis v. Highfill, Record No. 190117 (April 9, 2020). The...

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VWC Headquarters Will Reopen April 21st, 2020

The Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission (VWC) will reopen its headquarters on April 21, 2020, with minimal occupancy of employees performing critical functions. The facility remains closed to the public to minimize the spread of COVID-19. The headquarters, located at 333 E. Franklin Street, Richmond, Virginia closed on April 7, 2020 after an agency employee exhibited symptoms for the Coronavirus (COVID-19). The Commission, in close consultation with the Virginia Department of Health, executed extensive cleaning and disinfection protocols to ensure the health and safety of its employees and visitors, while also transitioning to an all agency telework mode to carry on...

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Updated – Free Virtual Training for New Adjusters – Virginia Workers’ Compensation Law

For those who were unable to attend this webinar, we hope that this recording is beneficial to you. Get your new adjusters up to speed with a crash course in basic Virginia Workers’ Compensation law. Training led by Scott Ford, Brian Richardson, Audrey Marcello and Kwabena Akowuah. This was an interactive event with real-time questions answered via chat. Occurred – Wednesday, April 29, 2020 from 10:00 AM to 11:30 AM EDT We appreciate you taking the time to listen.    

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Marketing in the Time of COVID-19

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the labor market is continually evolving, possibly impacting workers’ compensation claims. We have received inquiries regarding the pandemic’s effect on marketing requirements, due to the temporary shuttering of certain aspects of our economy. While the CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security”) Act has effectively waived the requirement that individuals be actively seeking work in order to qualify for unemployment benefits, no similar directive has been issued by the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission. Thus, partially-disabled claimants continue to have a duty to make reasonable, good-faith efforts to market their residual capacity in order...

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Expanded Family and Medical Leave Act Provisions Due to Coronavirus – WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

On March 18, 2020, H.R. 6201, The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“the Act”), was enacted into law. The Act requires the expansion of paid sick leave and Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) in response to the sweeping coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in the United States. The changes are in effect through December 31, 2020, with the expectation that if the pandemic continues, further extensions will be considered. Who is Covered by the Expansion? The Act applies to certain public employers, and private employers with less than 500 employees, subject to several exemptions. If an employee is a healthcare provider...

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Partially Disabled Employees Laid Off Due to COVID-19

All: We have received the following question from many clients over the last several weeks and thought it would be beneficial to share our answer more broadly: Question: As a result of Governor Northam’s March 30 ‘Stay at Home’ Order for all non-essential employees, many employers have furloughed employees. What should the Virginia adjuster do with injured workers that were working light duty receiving temporary partial disability benefits and were laid off with other employees because of this current situation? Answer: The Virginia adjuster should file an Application to terminate benefits alleging that wage loss is no longer related to...

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