Virginia employers with 3 or more employees are generally subject to the Workers’ Compensation Act which requires workers’ compensation coverage (through an insurance company or through self-insurance) at no cost to its employees. Workers’ compensation is a form of insurance used to provide compensation to employees who are injured in the course and scope of their employment. Workers Comp insurance protects the employer against legal liability for the injury. To get benefits, employees need only show they were injured while on the job from some workplace risk. Fault is usually not an issue, unlike in a a car crash case, bicycle accident injury or trip and fall claim.
Coverage is limited to those having the status of an employee, as opposed to an independent contractor. The distinction between an employee and independent contractor is hazy, at best. While hours, uniforms, tools, method of payment are important, the issue of “control” is usually the most important factor the workers comp judges consider in deciding these cases. See tomorrow’s post for what lawsuits ARE allowed.