Whitt & Del Bueno, Attorneys at Law

Leaders in defending workers' compensation claims.

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Legislative Amendments Effective July 1, 2014

By Mike Del Bueno

There are some noteworthy workers’ compensation legislative amendments that take effect July 1, 2014 that deal with medical provider treatment and costs. All of the below information deals with medical treatment rendered subsequent to July 1, 2014.

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The Impact of Recent Supreme Court Decision on the Statute of Limitations

By Ralph Whitt

On September 14, 2012, the Supreme Court of Virginia affirmed a decision by the Court of Appeals in Prince William County School Board v. Rahim that held that when an employer provides light duty employment to an injured worker at or above the worker’s average weekly wage, those wages are considered “compensation” paid pursuant to an award under Code § 654.2-708( C ), even though, of course, in actuality, there really is no true award of compensation because there is no wage loss. This “legal fiction” of calling wages “compensation” goes on for up to 24 months under section 708( C ). This has the effect of extending the running of the statute of limitations for the filing of claims for additional compensation (i.e., change in condition claims) because the limitation period in this situation begins to run from the date compensation was last paid and not from the date of accident. None of this is new, and this part is consistent with existing case law.

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Independent Thinking

By Mike Del Bueno

An employee that is injured on the job may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits in Virginia. However, an independent contractor injured on the job is not entitled to workers’ compensation benefits in Virginia. How do you know if someone is an employee or an independent contractor? Our firm recently handled a case that provides illustration on this issue.

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Court of Appeals Reverses Itself in Hively: Claimant Not Entitled to Any TPD under Favinger

By Ralph Whitt

I wrote to you earlier this year (“Seven Cases Worth Knowing About”) regarding the case of Ross & Sons Utility v. Hively, an unpublished opinion in which the Court of Appeals found that the claimant had not marketed the extra hours his regular employment involved, but instead of holding that the claimant was not entitled to any temporary partial disability benefits under the Supreme Court decision in Ford Motor Co. v. Favinger, the Court of Appeals remanded the case to the Commission to calculate how much in compensation the claimant was entitled to under the circumstances. The employer requested that the panel of the Court of Appeals reconsider, and it did, reversing itself as to the remedy only and affirming the principle in Favinger that if a claimant fails to fully market his wages or his hours, he is not entitled to any compensation benefits during the period of refusal. This is a welcome sign that the Court of Appeals still recognizes what Favinger means, although it may have to be reminded from time to time.

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Commission’s Advice to Adjusters at VSIA Conference

By Ralph Whitt


At the Virginia Self-Insured Association conference recently, Commissioner Williams gave some advice to workers’ compensation claims adjusters that bears your consideration:

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