Loyal company workers are often surprised to find out that not all workplace disability is covered by the Virginia Workers Compensation law. Recently the case of a Northern Virginia worker who worked for a well known company for 20 years came across my desk. Part of his duties included lifting. He now has degenerative back issues allegedly due to his job. However, the chances of successfully pursuing a workers’ compensation claim are nonexistent because the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Act specifically excludes back injuries caused by cumulative lifting.
Even if there is no question that the job involved lots of lifting of heavy materials and the worker gave prompt notice of the symptoms to his boss, the case is likely a loser. You have to have an identifiable incident causing a specific mechanical breakdown to qualify as an injury by accident. Gradually incurred injuries are not covered under the Virginia Workers Comp Act. There must have been a sudden onset or specific event to obtain coverage even if it simply a sudden pull or strain that aggravated the pre-existing condition. The Virginia Workers Comp judges look for a sudden, identifiable anatomical change in the employee’s body in order to award benefits.
At the Landau Law Shop, we are often compelled to tell injured workers that their claims are not covered under Virginia law, at the Herndon Law firm ABRAMS LANDAU, Ltd., we can sometimes help these disabled workers by filing a Social Security Disability claim on their (and their family’s) behalf. Even if you have been denied workers comp benefits, you may still have other avenues of compensation which an experienced disability lawyer can help you to pursue.