Sometimes disabled workers injure another body part while going to physical therapy. When this happens, the doctrine of “compensable consequences” comes into play, according to Herndon workplace injury lawyer Doug Landau.
What is a “Compensable Consequence ?”
If an injured worker sustains a second injury or condition because of the original accidental injury (or its treatment), the costs of care may be covered under the workers compensation law of Virginia.
A “Compensable Consequence” is a consequence of the original injury or the treatment of the original injury that may be found “compensable” but the Virginia Workers Compensation Commission added to the original AWARD Order. In other words, if someone has a complication as the result of pushing too hard in physical therapy or occupational therapy, or has something go wrong during a surgery to fix, repair or help a comp injury, then the complication or infection can also be covered by Workers Comp. If the complication or infection is completely unrelated, then it goes under the family’s Health Insurance.
There is a doctrine in Virginia Workers’ Compensation called the “Doctrine of Compensable Consequences.” The doctrine holds that medical consequences and sequelae that flow from the primary injury are compensable, i.e. covered by workers’ compensation. Compensable consequences include injuries sustained not as an immediate result of the original injury, but as a result of some intermediate event which was itself a result of the original injury. See the case of Amoco Foam Prods. Co. v. Johnson, 26 Va. App.26 (1997). When the primary injury is shown to have arisen out of and in the course of the employment, every natural consequence that flows from the injury likewise arises out of the employment, unless it is the result of an independent intervening cause attributable to the injured employee’s own intentional conduct.
The Virginia Workers Compensation Commission has also held that exacerbations of a claimant’s condition resulting from medications taken to treat an industrial injury, pain killer, corrective or exploratory surgery, etc., are compensable under the doctrine of compensable consequences. Cubbage v. Wangler, 74 O.W.C. 204 (1995). At the Herndon law firm ABRAMS LANDAU, Ltd., we have won cases for injured workers who developed a second injury or condition due to: their favoring one arm over the other; having the wrong leg operated on; getting an infection that caused a heart attack after surgery on their foot.
If you or someone you know or care for has been injured at work and there are complications or new conditions that have developed, and there are questions about what laws apply, e-mail or call us at ABRAMS LANDAU, Ltd. (703-796-9555) at once.
“The Virginia Workers Compensation Commission changes the minimum & maximum comp rates each year to reflect the effects of inflation on the cost of living, as well as the medical transportation reimbursement rate” according to Herndon lawyer Doug Landau, shown after a Manassas (Prince William) Virginia workers Hearing
One of the facts that make predicting the precise amount of money an injured worker in Virginia may receive during his or her workers compensation claim is the fact that there are changes to the payment and reimbursement rates that go into effect each year. These changes reflect the realities of inflation and the economy of the Commonwealth.
Effective July 1, 2013, the minimum compensation rate for Virginia workers compensation recipients is $238.75 and the maximum is $955.00.
Not all injured workers in Virginia get 2/3rds of their pre-injury pay !
While the “Virginia comp rate” is supposed to be 2/3rds of a disabled workers wages, this 66.6% figure does not apply to employees at the bottom or top of the pay scale. For example, a skilled employee who is making $40.00/hour, or over $1,600 per week, with overtime and bonuses, would not get 2/3rds of her average weekly gross wages because of the “cap on weekly Virginia workers compensation payments.” A disabled worker who made $2,400/week, would only get compensation payments of $955, or about 40% of his or her pre-injury wage rate !!! That is why Doug Landau, of the Herndon law firm ABRAMS LANDAU, Ltd., tells clients, co-counsel and even Circuit Court Judges that “the workers compensation system was designed to be a ‘medical payment and partial wage replacement system only.”
Comp Checks Increase for Inflation
The 2013 Cost of Living Adjustment (or “COLA”) is 1.7% and the Mileage Reimbursement Rate is $0.55/mile for doctors’ therapy, testing and other medical treatment related appointments. This COLA adjustment means that if an injured worker was receiving $500/week in comp benefits last year, and they are not receiving Social Security Disability income (“SSDI”), then their weekly comp check could be increased to $508.50. “This may not seem like much, but in years where the COLA is 3-4%, it adds up over 500 weeks. That $8.50 would amount to over $4,000 in a fatality case, and each succeeding year’s COLA is added on top of the prior year’s increase, sometimes increasing the weekly comp rate by over 20% !” adds Landau. In one case, a client had not sought COLA for several years, and he received a back due COLA check for over $18,000, tax free !
The maximum number of weeks for fatal on-the-job accident cases is 500 weeks. In a fatality case, a maximum of $10,000.00 may be payable for burial expenses and $1,000.00 for transportation. Lawyer Landau notes, “These amounts, also, often fall short of reimbursing grieving families for what they have spent to have their loved one’s remains buried, cremated, and then sent home. For clients who are buried abroad or who originally come from California, the transportation expenses can be huge.”
If you or someone you know or care for has been injured as the result of an on-the-job accident and there are questions about what laws apply, e-mail or call us at ABRAMS LANDAU, Ltd. (703-796-9555) at once.
Posted by: Barbara in Auto Accidents, Bicycle Accidents, Defective Products, Disease Claims, Dog Bites and Animal Attacks, Injured Athletes, Job Accidents, Medical Information, Negligence Cases, Premises liability, preparing for Court, Slip and Fall Accidents, Taking Care of Family, Working with Doctors
Doug Landau and Madeira Science Instructor and friend Reyna Pratt at the McLean Virginia High School’s annual Science Fair, where lawyer Landau has been a judge for the excellent projects for over a decade!
Virginia lawyer Doug Landau has a soft spot in his heart for the students at The Madeira School in McLean, Virginia. After all, his three daughters are graduates and his wife served on the Board as President of the Parents Association !
But that is only one reason Landau has enjoyed being a judge for the school’s Science Fair for the past ten + years. Another reason is the inspiration he derives from the students’ experiments and scientific literature presentations. Landau always learns something new; the high standards of the Madeira School are evident in the depth and breadth of the exhibits and discussions. The Herndon lawyer enjoys encouraging these young woman and future scientists to pursue their passion for medicine, math, physics, chemistry, astronomy, etc.
Another reason Landau enjoys volunteering at area science fairs is that, in addition to his law degree, the Herndon disability lawyer has a strong academic background in the sciences. In fact, his knowledge of the medical sciences helps him every day as he talks to injured clients, treating physicians, and expert witnesses about the injuries that make it difficult for his clients to lead a normal life. Doug uses his own interest and background in medicine to fully understand how an injury may impact a person’s life. This makes Doug an excellent choice for a case involving anyone injured in a workplace incident, car or bike accident, airport or airline injury, dog bite attack, slip and fall accident, negligence case, defective product case, etc. If you or someone you know has been injured due to no fault of your own and there are questions as to what laws apply, email or call Abrams Landau, Ltd. at once (703-796-9555).
A recent blurb in the Washington Post revealed that 72 retired New York City police officers, eight firefighters, five prison guards, and one police officer from Nassau County have been charged with faking psychiatric problems to collect federal disability benefits. That is 86 people collecting years’ worth of benefits to which they were not entitled! More were expected to be charged last week according to the New York Post, including members of the ringleader’s family.
According to the Post, the workers were coached by four ringleaders on how to describe symptoms of depression and other mental health problems in such a way as to be awarded benefits. Many of the workers claimed their symptoms started after the September 11, 2001 attacks and that their problems were so severe they were unable to work. Yet several have been seen working other jobs, or gallivanting on a so-called personal watercraft. The workers themselves collected payouts as high as $500,000 and each of the ringleaders made tens of thousands of dollars in kickbacks.
Virginia disability lawyer Doug Landau says “Shame on those who defraud the system. It is a true crime to steal from a program designed to help the disabled. These crooks stole stole money, resources, and time from those who actually need the benefits. At Abrams Landau, we work to help those truly in need. We will turn down or withdraw from cases where the claimant is seeking benefits or compensation fraudulently.”
If you or someone you know is disabled and there are questions as to what laws apply, email or call Abrams Landau, Ltd. at once (703-796-9555).
A new federal grant program “door-thru-door” helps disabled Arlington and Alexandria residents get to and from their medical appointments
For many of Abrams Landau’s disabled clients who live alone, getting out for appointments can be nearly impossible. Even calling a taxicab or catching a ride from a neighbor may not be the answer because often the client cannot manage without assistance or may not have the funds because the case has not been decided. That is why Virginia disability lawyer Doug Landau visits with his disabled clients at their own home, care facility or other location close to where they live. “Meeting a client face-to-face is so important,” says Doug. Even though the Abrams Landau office in Herndon is fully accessible for clients of limited mobility or in wheelchairs, sometimes it is just not feasible for disabled clients to make it out on their own.
Visiting a doctor for evaluation, treatment, and follow-up is also a challenge, but must be done.
For the elderly or disabled in the Northern Virginia areas of Alexandria and Arlington County, there is help!
A door-thru-door transportation program provides a trained health care aide to accompany individuals (age 18 or over) to medical appointments. Read the rest of this entry »
Herndon & Reston Social Security Disability lawyer Doug Landau has personally experienced taking care of incorrect Social Security information, Everyone should check their personal account BEFORE retirement age !
Having an accurate history of your earnings on file with the Federal Government is very important. After all, the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) formulation of benefits to which you may be entitled should you become disabled or when you retire are calculated based on your past earnings. If earnings are missing or incomplete, your benefits could be reduced.
Possible reasons the information on file for you could be wrong:
- Your employer used the wrong name or social security number when reporting your income.
- You got married or divorced, but did not report your name change to SSA.
- Prior or current year earnings may not have been recorded yet.
You can verify your social security Read the rest of this entry »
Many of Abrams Landau’s injured clients find themselves struggling with pain and are at a loss as to how to proceed. Injured workers with damaged shoulder joints and herniated discs in their necks and backs are confronted with medical questions. Is surgery the best option ? Will shoulder replacement restore functionality ? Will operating on the spine help with the leg pain or back pain ? Sometimes touching base with a medical professional can be quite helpful.
The Inova Hospital system conducts a series of “Ask the Expert” lectures on various medical topics, some of which deal specifically with treatment options for pain. And, they are all FREE! Here is a sampling of upcoming lectures (all presented by MD’s):
Treatment Options for Rotator Cuff Tears and Shoulder Arthritis
- Tuesday, April 8, 6:30pm at Inova Mount Vernon Hospital
Prevention and Treatment of Sports Injuries
- Thursday, February 27, 7:00pm at Gum Spring Library in Aldie, VA
Treatment Options for Neck and Back Pain
- Thursday, March 13, 6:30pm at Inova Mount Vernon Hospital
For the most up-to-date information or to register, visit www.inova.org/AskTheExpert or call 1-855-My-Inova (1-855-694-6682). Classes are ongoing, so keep checking back for new additions to the calendar.
If you are experiencing pain from an injury you sustained due to no fault of your own and there are questions as to what laws apply, email or call Abrams Landau, Ltd. at once (703-796-9555).
Nurses injured on the job have many hurdles when seeking workers compensation benefits for accidents at the hospitals and clinics. When a nurse or home care aid sustains a herniated disc lifting and re-positioning a patient, or falling at the bedridden client’s residence, the location of the accident is not as critical as the mechanism and timing of the injury. If the health care worker suffers a sudden, accidental injury in the course and scope of their employment, resulting in disability from work and/or permanent impairment, then it will usually fall under the protection of the Workers Compensation Act. Once they leave the premises, to commute home, they may not be covered if they are involved in a car crash. However, if the nurse or home health aid is going from one patient’s home to another, it may still be covered by workers comp, in addition to their potential motor vehicle negligence case !
If a nurse or other health care aid is injured while on the job in a patient’s home, is that a compensable workers’ compensation claim? In most cases, the answer is Yes.
In Maryland, unless you have an occupational disease, a compensable claim is defined as an accidental injury arising out of and during the course of employment. This means anything that happens — short of an intentional act to injure one’s self, violation of a safety rule or where drugs or alcohol are involved — could be covered under a workers’ compensation claim.
Here is an interesting spin on what makes for a compensable claim that was recently argued by a colleague of Herndon workers’ compensation attorney Doug Landau. A claimant was at a physical therapist facility receiving treatment for a work-related accident when he slipped outside on an icy sidewalk. The astute attorney argued had it not been for the employment accident in the first place, the client would never have been exposed to the icy sidewalk that caused him further injury. Lawyer Landau agrees with the way this case was handled. “The idea behind workers’ compensation is to compensate workers when they are injured as a result of their employment. The claimant being at the physical therapy office was a result of his employment as a home health care worker,” says Landau.
If you or someone you know has been injured during the course of your employment and there are questions as to what laws apply, email or call Abrams Landau, Ltd. at once (703-796-9555).
The short answer is No. Winning the lottery will not alter your eligibility for workers’ comp (WC).
The dollar amount of a workers’ comp benefit is calculated based upon an injured worker’s pre- and post-injury wages. In a case involving ongoing benefits, the injured worker is required to disclose any increase in earnings that may change either the worker’s eligibility or the benefit amount.
It may seem logical then, that winning the lottery should be reported, and a new test of the worker’s eligibility be conducted, as well as a new dollar amount for comp benefits calculated.
However, Herndon workers’ compensation attorney Doug Landau points out that, unless the person in question happens to be a professional gambler (!), lottery earnings are not “wages” or “earned income”, and therefore do not count when it comes to workers’ comp.
The intent of workers’ compensation payments is to remunerate a worker who was injured while performing the duties of his or her job. The monetary benefit is, in some way, intended to be a “partial wage replacement system” — or at least get the disabled worker close to his or her pre-injury state.
Winning the lottery has nothing to do with the employer’s responsibility to make an injured worker whole again. It is a lucky break for an injured worker and one that can be truly celebrated! If you or someone you know has been injured at work, whether or not they have any lottery winnings, and there are questions as to what laws apply, email or call Abrams Landau, Ltd. at once (703-796-9555).
This new stamp depicting 12 diverse jury members was designed by stamp designer Lance Hidy and art director Carl T. Herrman.
The U.S. Postal Service has issued a new postage stamp calling attention to the importance of jury duty.
An attractive and colorful stamp in its own right, Virginia attorney Doug Landau was especially drawn to the idea of a stamp that honors jury duty.
You see Doug’s father, Norman Landau, Esq. was an avid philatelist — he was a stamp collector! Norman loved collecting stamps, and, like Doug, believed in and trusted the civil jury system. How he would have loved to add this stamp to his impressive collection!
Jury duty is a cornerstone of democracy in the United States. The jury — 12 representatives charged with deciding the innocence or guilt of a defendant — ensures fair treatment of the accused. In civil cases, you could say the jury represents the conscience of the community.
Next time you buy stamps, consider purchasing the jury duty stamp. Of course, if you are a philatelist like Mr. Landau Sr., consider adding this to your collection! Either way, pause for a moment to reflect on the important role jury duty plays in our society. Next time you are selected to fulfill your duty as a juror, remember to “serve with pride,” as it says on the stamp!
If you or someone you know is in need of legal representation, do not hesitate to contact us at Abrams Landau, Ltd. by email or phone 703-796-9555.