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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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What to do with Claims for Underpaid/Unpaid Medical Bills

Over the past few years, there has been a steady rise of claims seeking payment of medical bills for treatment long since provided to injured employees. The Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission has recently issued several opinions providing more clarity on how to defend against these claims. The Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission approved a final settlement via Petition and Order on July 17, 2019, relating to a compensable injury by accident occurring on December 28, 2012. Flynn v. Crossmark Holdings, Inc., JCN VA00000720409 (Dec. 17, 2020). On September 5, 2019, the claimant sought payment of alleged unpaid and underpaid medical expenses...

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2021 Legislative Update Related to Workers’ Compensation

Due to the power shift from the 2019 elections when the Democrats gained control over the General Assembly, the 2020 legislative session resulted in workers’ compensation bills that largely favored the interests of injured workers over those of employers and insurers. Although the 2020 Special Legislative Session resulted in the temporary defeat of COVID-19 presumption legislation, largely due to the expense to localities and to the Commonwealth, the 2021 Session of the Virginia General Assembly is slated to similarly favor injured workers. Based on the content of the bills introduced thus far, the proposed legislation expands the rights of injured...

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Retirement and Termination of Benefits

In today’s aging workforce, an injured worker’s retirement will likely arise often in workers’ compensation claims. How does an injured worker’s voluntary retirement impact their workers’ compensation benefits? Is the employer still responsible for wage loss, when an injured worker retires? Under the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Act, the employer and carrier are only responsible for a claimant’s wage loss that is attributable to his or her work injury. In the case of a claimant’s retirement, the claimant’s economic loss is related to his retirement, and not his injury. His or her retirement is the cause of his loss of compensation,...

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Happy Holidays from Ford Richardson Law Firm

Click this link or the image below to play the message Should you have any questions about our firm, please do not hesitate to contact the lawyers at Ford Richardson. Ford Richardson is a full-service law firm with headquarters located in Richmond’s financial district and satellite offices in Southwest Virginia, Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads. Our commitment to our clients is simple: offer top-tier clear legal solutions that allow our clients to excel in their business. We are privileged to give back to our community and believe it is our responsibility to do so. Our attorneys and support staff serve...

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Are Injuries that Occur While Working from Home Compensable?

In the age of COVID-19, many employers are turning to telecommuting as a preventative measure to protect their employees from the virus. But what happens when a telecommuting employee suffers an injury while working at home? What circumstances determine whether or not the injury incurred at home is compensable? Virginia Code § 65.2-101 requires that the claimant prove that he or she suffered an “injury by accident arising out of and in the course of the employment.” An injury occurs in the course of employment when it takes place within the period of employment, at a place where the employee...

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