Airport Workers and Airline Employees Have the Burden Of Proof to Show Periods of Disability

Airport and airline employees must market their ability to work or risk losing lost wage benefits under Virginia Workers Compensation law
Airport and airline employees must market their ability to work (light duty &/or part time) after an on the job accident or risk losing weekly wage loss indemnity benefits under Virginia Workers Compensation law

The majority of injured workers who contact the Herndon law firm ABRAMS LANDAU, Ltd., are unaware of two requirements under the Virginia Workers Compensation Act that frequently cause disabled claimants to lose thousands of dollars in comp payments. Under the Virginia Comp law, the injured worker must prove every day and hour of their disability from work. And, when they are not working full duty or full time, they must show documented efforts (i.e., interviews, resumes, internet searches, newspaper “want ads,” door-to-door, registering with the V.E.C., D.R.S., etc.) to market their residual capacity to do work.

  • As a Manassas Virginia workers comp judge recently reminded us, “[A] party seeking workers’ compensation bears the burden of proving his disability and the periods of that disability.”

This Prince William Deputy Commissioner had to decide if a claimant’s time loss after a June 16th, 2013 knee injury was compensable in light of these strict requirements. The injured Dulles Airport worker missed time before his surgery, from July 3 through July 15, 2013. The evidence established that his orthopedic specialist placed him on a light duty status during this period. The Prince William County comp judge found that the “claimant credibly testified that the employer had no such work and that he would not have been permitted to drive a [Dulles Airport Midfield Terminal] lounge while on the strong pay killers he was prescribed.”

This excellent and experienced Manassas comp judge wrote in her favorable decision, “Caselaw establishes that a partially disabled employee must prove that he made a reasonable effort to procure suitable employment after being released to light duty.” This is known as “the marketing rule.” This rule generally trips up unrepresented claimants and those injured workers represented by lawyers who do not regularly go to court in Workers Comp claims. These unfortunate workers succeed in proving a compensable workplace accident only to be denied payments for their lost wages due to this “failure to market.”

Did lawyer Landau’s lounge driver lose ? No ! This seasoned and reasonable Manassas comp judge recalled that, “case law also establishes that in some cases it is unreasonable to expect the claimant to market his or her residual capacity for a very brief period of time. We find that the period of disability at issue, 13 days, meets this later criteria, especially as the last 6 days were awaiting to undergo the surgery recommended on July 8, 2013.” The judge entered an AWARD for the lost wages, even though this injured airport worker candidly had not marketed. If you or someone you know or care for has been injured as the result of an airport terminal, airplane or other airport employment related accident and there are questions about what laws apply, e-mail or call us at ABRAMS LANDAU, Ltd. (703-796-9555) at once.