Young Virginia workers who are permanently disabled learn the tragic fact that the Virginia Workers Compensation law limits wage loss benefits to no more than 500 weeks in most workplace injury cases. In fatal accident claims, the families of the deceased workers do not even get 10 years of benefits ! However, in very limited cases, where the injured worker has lost BOTH arms, legs, eyes, hands or feet, they can apply for "Permanent Total Disability" ("PTD") benefits. This is one of the rare exceptions to the harsh application of the Workers Comp Act. Doug Landau of the Herndon law firm ABRAMS LANDAU has tried "Permanent Total" cases for disabled worker who "have lost the use of their arms or legs in employment." Workplace injury lawyer Landau has even won a case for a client who had lost the use of one arm and one leg on the same side of his body due to a condition known as "hemiplegia."
Virginia Workers Comp law requires that the injured worker has healed as much as they are likely to do so, reaching what is called "Maximum Medical Improvement" or "MMI" for short. The disabled employee also needs permanency ratings to the affected body parts, per AMA Guidelines, and these numbers cannot be to the back, neck, spine or body as a whole. When permanent total ("PTD") cases are won, weekly wage loss benefits can last for life, though the Herndon trial lawyer notes that most of these cases usually settle since the exposure to the insurance company then becomes much larger.
This week's Hearing involved a construction worker who fell from a scaffold onto his leg and back. Prior Hearings handled by another law firm had resulted in the issues of his right leg, depression and medications being excluded. This presented a difficult case since one leg's orthopedic symptoms had already been excluded by a workers comp judge. However, by looking at the injured worker's problems from a neurological standpoint ("wiring" instead of "anatomic structures"), the ABRAMS LANDAU trial team was able to get support from both authorized treating medical specialists. The testimony, records and exhibits submitted support a prima facie PTD claim, and now counsel and client are waiting for a judge's decision.