Interested in both the local economy as well as the national economy, updates from our elected representatives are particularly curious. The Delegate to the Virginia General Assembly representing Herndon, Oak Hill, and Sterling wrote me this month to remind me that “we remain the most business friendly state in America.” However, if your business is helping the disabled, injured and survivors from on the job accidents, then your outlook would not be so optimistic. Virginia’s injured workers face limited benefits, that may not even last 10 years and which have caps on weekly payments. When the Virginia General Assembly convened last week for the 2011 session, the Governor’s State of the Commonwealth speech noted that Virginia was recognized as having the 3rd highest job creation in the country and that the unemployment has dropped from 7.2% to 6.8% (9th lowest in the nation).
Yet we see families and individuals at ABRAMS LANDAU, Ltd. every week who cannot survive on the statutory workers comp benefits or who are being starved out during the wait to have their on the job injury claims heard. In one recent case set for court last week, the insurance company sent surveillance teams out over many months to follow our client and his family, spending many thousands of dollars on private investigators and lawyers, all the while not paying any wage loss benefits to the injured worker. Greater protection for workers, their families, their right to privacy, dignity and good faith insurance claims practices would all be places for our General Assembly to devote some time and legislation. I will post news from the General Assembly as to changes in the law affecting injured workers, their families and the disabled here in Virginia. Stay tuned.