How Does Virginia Workers’ Compensation Define the Scope of Employment?

May 6, 2021 | Workers' Compensation

In many states, the scope of employment includes any act which benefits the employer in any way. Typically, workers’ compensation covers injuries sustained in company softball games. The game itself is clearly not work-related and might not even occur on company property. But the employer benefits from the activity, mostly because happy and healthy employees are more productive and less costly.

 

In Virginia, lawmakers have added the arise-out-of rule to the scope of employment doctrine. Workplace injuries are only covered if they arise out of the job itself. More on that below.

 

Since the workers’ compensation laws are so broad in many states, it’s often unnecessary to get a lawyer. But since the laws are so narrow in Virginia, a Richmond work accident lawyer is usually a must-have. The arise-out-of rule is only one example. Claims examiners in Virginia routinely deny claims on linguistic technicalities. Without legal representation, your chances of obtaining fair compensation for your serious work-related injury are rather slim.

Benefits Available

Since most families have almost no financial reserve, a few weeks without a paycheck is financially devastating in most cases. Insurance companies know these households are under extreme financial pressure, so they usually make quick, “low ball” settlement offers.

 

That’s why the wage replacement benefit is so important in these cases. This benefit enables families to resist insurance company pressure and hold out for fair compensation. As a bonus, wage replacement benefits are normally retroactive to the filing date. So, the longer the insurance company drags its feet, the more it usually ends up paying.

 

Most injured victims receive two-thirds of their average weekly wage for the duration of a temporary disability. Let’s break these items down.

 

In a few cases, an attorney just needs a calendar and a calculator to determine the average weekly wage. But in most cases, this calculation is more complex. 

 

Many employees have uneven incomes. For example, hospitality workers often get more hours during special events and school vacations. Other workers are entitled to future bonuses based solely on the number of hours worked. The AWW must account for these changes. If Sally will miss a bonus or miss the March Madness crowd because of an injury, her AWW must reflect that money.

 

As for the disability’s duration, workers’ compensation in Virginia lasts up to 500 weeks. That’s almost ten years. This extended period, which is one of the longest covered periods in the country, gives injured victims plenty of time to get treatment and fully complete physical therapy.

Workplace Injuries and the Arise-Out-Of Rule

This rule often applies to work-related muscle injuries. Assume Philip hurts his back as he is picking up a heavy box. The injury is not a repetitive stress injury, because he doesn’t normally pick up heavy boxes. However, timing is everything.

 

If Philip hurt his back as he was bending over, workers’ compensation might not cover the claim. Bending over does not arise out of Philip’s employment. But if Philip hurt his back as he was straightening up, workers’ compensation probably applies.

 

There is a very fine line here. Frequently, to satisfy the arise-out-of rule, an attorney partners with a medical professional who determines the exact nature and timing of the injury. Such proof is often quite compelling, especially during an administrative law hearing.

Your Job Injury Claim

Before victims have their day in court, a claims examiner usually reviews the facts of the incident, along with the medical records, and evaluates the claim. Most claims examiners deny most claims, at least in part. 

 

It’s important not to give up. This denial does not mean your claim is weak or meritless. It’s just part of the process. The system is designed to frustrate victims into abandoning their claims or settling them for less than they are worth.

 

Besides, a denial is simply your ticket to a trial-like administrative review hearing, At this hearing, an attorney can introduce evidence, like the aforementioned medical report, challenge the other side’s evidence, and make legal arguments. As a result, victims have an excellent chance of obtaining fair compensation.

 

In addition to wage replacement, this compensation usually includes payment of all reasonably necessary medical expenses.

Connect with Our Office for a Free Consultation

Workers’ compensation benefits are available if your injury is directly related to your job. For a free consultation with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney in Richmond, contact Geoff McDonald & Associates, P.C. Virtual, home, and hospital visits are available.

Geoff McDonald and Associates: 804-888-8888.

FREE CONSULTATION

No Fees Unless We Win





    What if My Car Accident Happened on the Job?

    Car accidents that happen while you’re working can involve more than one type of injury case. In these scenarios, you might have both a workers’ compensation claim to cover your wages because you were performing a work function at the time and a personal injury...

    What Should I Not Say to My Workers’ Compensation Adjuster?

    The best way to protect yourself from saying the wrong thing to a workers’ compensation adjuster is to speak to an attorney first. You have an obligation to report the accident to your employer within 30 days. The sooner you report the accident to your employer, the...

    Workers’ Comp Denied My Claim. Do I Still Have a Case?

    If your workers’ compensation claim is denied, you might still have a case and be able to receive compensation for your time away from work and your medical bills. It just might mean that you need to hire a workers’ compensation attorney to prove your case...

    If I Get Injured at Work in Virginia, How Long Do I Have to Report It?

    Whether you’re in Virginia or another state, all work-related injuries or accidents must be reported to your employer as soon as possible. Our workers’ compensation attorneys often get asked how long they have to report their injury and what happens if they miss the...

    Our Case Results

    $4,700,000
    Industrial Plant Accident

    Attorneys for the Plaintiff: Jeffrey A. Breit and Justin M. Sheldon Our client was killed in an industrial accident when an unauthorized worker was operating an overhead crane and pinned our client between…

    $1,750,000
    Rear-End Crash

    Our client suffered a traumatic brain injury, facial trauma, a dislocated hip and severe abdominal trauma when she was rear-ended at a traffic light by a tractor trailer. Suit was commenced shortly after…

    $1,250,000
    Assault of Log Truck Driver

    Attorneys for the Plaintiff: Geoffrey R. McDonald, Frank H. Hupfl, Justin M. Sheldon.
    Our client suffered a traumatic brain injury after being assaulted and knocked to the ground while fueling his logging…

    $860,000
    Drunk Driving Crash

    Our client suffered neck/head trauma and a broken wrist after his vehicle was struck by a drunk driver while he was stopped at a traffic light. Upon rejection of a settlement offer of $325,000, our litigation…

    $700,000
    Rear-End Collision

    Attorneys for the Plaintiff: Justin M. Sheldon and Geoff R. McDonald, Richmond
    GMA’s client was injured as a result of a rear-end collision in the greater Richmond area. The crash occurred a little after…

    Client Reviews

    Cheryl and Rich were wonderful and patient with me throughout the case. All of my questions were answered. They really helped me through this tough time and made sure to let me know what was going on. I really thank Geoff…

    Troy Saxby

    My experience with GMA staff was first rate. They always represented in a professional way and made sure I had everything as far as paperwork. Kara and Theo made sure to answer all my questions, was always available and so…

    Shirley Brown

    Geoff McDonald & Associates is the team that you want on the field if you’re in need of top notch legal defense! Mr. Taj Henley demonstrated true customer service skills and his expertise made me feel comfortable throughout the…

    Julian Reeves

    Geoff McDonald & Associates: Thank you Taj Henley for all of your hard work and dedication! Very expeditious in my case and I was very satisfied with my settlement. Will recommend to all my friends and family!

    Shareema Williams

    Geoff is number one in my book and I especially appreciate the support of Mr Henley

    Ebony Conwell

    I was so pleased with the knowledge and support from Mr. Taj Henley

    Kideem Frierson

    Thank you Geoff McDonald &Associates. A special thank you to Mr. Taj Henley

    Denise Conwell

    Mr. Taj Henley displays exceptional professionalism for Geoff McDonald & Associates, along with commendable communication skills and customer service. By his work ethic and commitment to the people he serves his value to any…

    Justin Fitzgerald