Workers Compensation

The Virginia Workers’ Compensation Act provides a legal framework to compensate injured workers for job-related injuries. It was designed to ensure that workers and their families are properly cared for and compensated following workplace injuries.

A restaurant server was entering an order into a micro computer in the restaurant kitchen, when co-workers began pelting him with ice from behind as a joke.  The server turned around, and when he raised his arm to shield his face from incoming bits of ice, his shoulder dislocated.  Surgery was required.  The Deputy Commissioner who heard the case determined the server was the “innocent victim of horseplay,” and that the claim was compensable.  However, on appeal, the full Commission determined that the hundred year old common law allowing “innocent victims of horseplay” to recover had changed, and benefits were denied.  The Court of Appeals affirmed.  The Supreme Court of Virginia reversed, and found that the full Commission and the Court of Appeals misapplied the law, and that the law allowing “innocent victims of horseplay” to recover workers’ compensation benefits remains viable in Virginia.

Representative Clients

A career firefighter was diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder after 20 years of exposure to serious injuries and fatalities.  The claim was originally filed as an injury, but was rejected by the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission.  The claim was subsequently filed as an occupational disease claim.  For the first time, the Supreme Court of Virginia recognized the compensability of post traumatic stress disorder as an occupational disease. Read More

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