What Injuries are Covered by Virginia Workers’ Comp?
Under the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Act, duly hired workers who suffer a job-related injury or occupational disease may claim workers’ comp benefits. However, not all injuries or illnesses qualify for worker’s comp. Below, we look at Virginia worker’s comp coverage as defined by law. If you have specific questions about your case, please don’t hesitate to speak with a trusted workers’ compensation lawyer.
Injury and Disease Qualification for Virginia Workers’ Comp
The Workers Compensation Act covers injuries and diseases “arising out of and in the course of employment.”
- An injury that “arises out of the course of employment” is one that occurs particularly due to the nature of your work and not just an “ordinary disease of life.” For instance, a construction worker may receive benefits for a back injury received while lifting materials at the worksite. By contrast, the common cold and flu are common diseases that anyone could just get anywhere.
- An injury that “arises in the course of employment” means it occurred while the employee was doing their work. It could be during their shift, overtime, or work trip.
Note that the law covers both “injuries by accident” and “occupational diseases.” Compensable injuries don’t always have to be from a sudden accident. Developed illnesses – such as respiratory problems and cancer – may qualify if they meet the two main criteria above. However, you’ll need the help of an experienced workers’ comp to establish that your injury or illness is eligible for compensation.
Examples of Injuries Covered by Virginia Workers’ Comp
From the criteria above, these injuries and diseases may be eligible for Virginia workers’ compensation:
- Back injuries such as herniated disc and bulging disc
- Broken bones/Fractures
- Burn injuries
- COVID-19 infection (for healthcare workers)
- Electrical injuries/Electrocution
- Heart and lung conditions (for first responders such as firefighters and police)
- Heat illness
- Joint pains
- Knee injuries
- Neck injuries such as whiplash and cervical fracture
- Respiratory illnesses such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), mesothelioma, and other types of lung cancer
- Shoulder injuries
- Sprains and strains
- Skin conditions from chemical exposure
- Traumatic brain injuries.
Injuries Not Covered by Workers’ Compensation
Virginia workers’ comp law names some health conditions that are not compensable:
- Ordinary diseases of life (those unrelated to the job)
- Repetitive stress injury (unless you can prove that your job directly causes it)
- Diseases of the neck, back, or spinal column.
In addition, an injury or illness is likely not eligible for worker’s comp if it occurred in any of the following situations:
- The worker was not following safety guidelines or was not wearing prescribed safety gear.
- The worker was engaging in horseplay instead of working.
- The worker was under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- The worker was not on official duty (e.g., they showed up at their job outside of work hours).
- The worker was using company tools or vehicles outside of official duty.
There is some gray area regarding what workers’ comp does and does not cover. For instance, repetitive stress injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) are not typically covered, but if you can show the Workers’ Compensation Commission that your CTS is a direct result of the demands of your job, you may have a chance to get benefits. Another example is post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) that arises from specific work conditions or job-related incidents.
It’s best to enlist a workers’ compensation attorney to help you build your case and convince the Commission that you deserve benefits.
Talk to an Experienced Virginia Workers’ Comp Lawyer
In Lynchburg, Roanoke and throughout Virginia, workers trust Attorney Jaleh K. Slominski for their workers’ comp claims. She has effectively obtained favorable compensation for numerous clients, even in complicated cases where insurers attempted to minimize the claim. With over 20 years of experience under her belt, Ms. Slominski has the knowledge and experience to fight for you.
Talk to Attorney Slominski about your work injury questions and concerns. Contact us at (434) 384-9400 in (Lynchburg) or (540) 554-3762 in (Roanoke).