News

Legislative Update: New Standards for Police Officers and Firefighters Alleging PTSD

The Virginia General Assembly recently passed new legislation that will influence how police officers and firefighters will be able to recover workers’ compensation benefits for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in Virginia. The new statute, Va. Code § 65.2-107, requires that insurance carriers cover treatment for PTSD developed by police officers and firefighters as a result of exposure to a “qualifying event” in the line of duty. For purposes of this statute, a “qualifying event” includes any incident or exposure: resulting in serious bodily injury or death to any person or persons; involving a minor who has been injured, killed, abused,...

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Video – COVID-19 – Workers’ Compensation

We’ve been getting a lot of questions about COVID-19, and how it will pertain to Workers’ Compensation. We hope this quick video is a good primer into a larger discussion. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to any of the attorneys at Ford Richardson, P.C.

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Virginia becomes the first state in the nation to adopt temporary mandatory workplace safety standards for SARS-CoV-2

On July 15, 2020, Virginia became the first state in the nation to adopt temporary, mandatory workplace safety standards for SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19), when 16VAC25-220 was enacted and adopted by the Safety and Health Codes Board. The standards include mandating: appropriate personal protective equipment, sanitation, social distancing, infectious disease preparedness and response plans, record keeping, training, and hazard communications in workplaces. Interestingly, 16VAC25-220 explicitly states that, “nothing in the standard shall be construed to require employers to conduct contact tracing of the SARS-CoV-2 disease.” Of note, application of the standard is based upon the risk of exposure to the novel coronavirus....

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Virginia Supreme Court Again Extends Covid-19 Related Judicial Emergency

On July 28, 2020, the Virginia Supreme Court entered its Eighth Order Extending Declaration of Judicial Emergency in Response to Covid-19 Emergency, which extends the current declaration of judicial emergency through August 30, 2020.  Jury trials remain suspended within the Commonwealth of Virginia; however, statutes of limitations and other “case-related” deadlines remain unaffected after the Virginia Supreme Court ceased tolling of those deadlines on July 20, 2020.  Deadlines contained in the Speedy Trial Act will continue to toll under the Eighth Order. Currently, the Chief Circuit Judges of Virginia are drafting plans proposing how to safely restart jury trials within...

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The 8 Hour Work Day: Is It a Real Piece of Work?

Recently, the Court of Appeals of Virginia decided City of Charlottesville v. Sclafani, Record No. 1815-19-2 (2020). Mr. Sclafani was a police officer with the City of Charlottesville. After participating in an eight-hour SWAT training session, he felt pain in his left shoulder and left arm. During the entire session, he was acting in the role of a “take down guy” – the suspect who was taken to the ground, handcuffed, and brought back up to his feet. There was a lunch hour between the four-hour morning session and the four-hour afternoon session. Mr. Sclafani testified that he experienced problems...

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New Virginia Code Section 65.2-601.2 Goes Into Effect July 1, 2020

There have been several inquiries directed to the firm regarding the provisions of new addition to the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Act, Va. Code §65.2-601.2. This update provides our guidance on several frequently asked questions regarding this new section. I. What does the new code section provide for? The new section provides a required response to new claims for benefits from claimants. The Commission is directed to issue an order to employers, and employers are required to respond to that order within 30 days, accepting the claim, denying the claim, or stating that it lacks necessary information to complete its review...

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UPDATE – POSTPONED – 19th Annual Workers’ Compensation Seminar

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic we have regrettably decided to postpone the 19th Annual Workers’ Compensation Seminar on September 17, 2020 and will be rescheduling for the fall of 2021. We are pleased to announce that we will be hosting a webinar on September 17, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. to review the most noteworthy legal cases for the year. The format will be a highly interactive review of those legal decisions that every Virginia adjuster should be aware of. Ford Richardson will continue to host interactive webinars to ensure our partners are kept apprised of noteworthy workers’ compensation issues....

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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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