“Same trade or occupation,” continued

In Virginia, the law strictly bars an employee from suing their employer or co-worker for an injury that occurs on the job. However, Virginia law does allow the injured worker to retain the right to sue a “third party” whose negligence caused or contributed to the worker’s injury, even if the worker receives workers’ compensation/  For example, ABRAMS LANDAU represented a truck driver who was injured in a car accident due to the fault of another driver, and recovered BOTH workers comp benefits AND a settlement in the 3rd party liability case.

A “third party” is a person who is not a co-worker or in the “same trade or occupation” as the injured employee. There are widespread differences among the states as to who constitutes a third-party.

If the worker recovers money from the negligent third party, the worker is required to repay the employer or insurer who paid workers’ compensation benefits.  This law was designed to allow the injured worker to get only “one full recovery.”  In Virginia, according to Doug Landau of the Landau Law Shop, an injured employee must generally file a claim within two years from the date of the accident or any right to benefits may be lost.  Landau adds, “while workers compensation laws differ from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, they each generally share the purpose of ensuring that injured workers, as well as their dependents, receive limited medical and wage replacement benefits without question of fault.”

The worker’s compensation system is complex. And as such you should have an experienced lawyer handling your Virginia workers’ compensation claim. You should also watch several comp hearings before your turn to go to court.  For more information about Workers’ Compensation laws in Virginia, please refer to the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission (VWC) Web site.

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