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Are Some On the Job Injuries Really Not Covered By Workers' Compensation Like My Employer Is Telling Me?

Woman sitting at her work desk with back pain

Moving heavy furniture is a routine part of your job in-office services at the digital advertising agency in Virginia that you work for. You were lifting a heavy filing cabinet as part of moving a new employee into her office when you hear a “pop” and your left knee gives way. This is the same knee you injured playing soccer in high school and that you sometimes (but not always) wear a brace on when lifting heavy things around the office. Your supervisor has asked about it before when you put your knee brace on, so you are not surprised when HR asks to see you once you return to the office after several weeks out receiving treatment for your injuries about what they call “your old injury.” You are nevertheless extremely surprised when the HR representative, with someone sitting in her office she introduces as there from the company’s worker’s compensation carrier, tells you that she is sad to inform you that, because you had a previous knee injury, you are ineligible for worker’s compensation. Your first question to yourself when you walk out to the meeting is: is she right? Didn’t I suffer this injury at work?

Workers' compensation is a remedy for on the job injuries. An employer or its worker’s compensation insurance carrier may seek to attribute your workplace injury to a pre-existing injury or condition your employer knew you had if there is any possible way to do so. However, just because your employer tells you that your injury is not covered by worker’s compensation does not mean you should simply accept what they tell you and not seek the benefits that you are entitled to under Virginia law. An experienced Virginia worker’s compensation attorney like the attorneys at Kalfus & Nachman can carefully review the facts of your situation with you and break down for you if what your employer is telling you is correct or not.

Where is The Dividing Line Between What Is An Injury Covered By Worker’s Compensation and What Is Not?

Under the Virginia’s Workers Compensation Act (the Act), a workplace injury typically must be sudden and unexpected in order to qualify for worker’s compensation benefits. An injury that has gradually been building for months or even years and happens to occur at work (such as if you are standing up at work and your lower back suddenly gives out, but not from any particular work-related cause) is not typically something that would make someone eligible for worker’s compensation benefits. Many times the lines may be blurry between what was a workplace injury and what was an old injury from your football or soccer days in high school or at a previous job. However, something to keep in mind in this scenario is that worker’s compensation in Virginia covers injuries that you suffer as a result of a workplace incident. There is no requirement that you suffer the injury and never have been injured or ever had any sort of health condition in the part of your body injured in the workplace incident in order to receive worker’s compensation benefits. Virginia law is clear that a pre-existing injury that is exacerbated, aggravated, accelerated, or re-injured in a workplace setting would be something covered by the Act. Therefore, in the case of your left knee that was injured in the course of performing your job, this would be an injury that would be covered by the Act. Thus you would be entitled to worker’s compensation benefits, despite what your employer and its insurer are telling you.

Contact the Experienced Virginia Worker’s Compensation Attorneys at Kalfus & Nachman

If you have suffered a workplace injury in Virginia, then worker’s compensation coverage exists to compensate you for the damages that you suffer as a result of those injuries. Our experienced Virginia worker’s compensation attorneys routinely deal with employers and their workers compensation insurers who are trying to attribute a work related injury to a non-work related condition the injured employee may previously have had. Many times those employers and their worker’s comp carrier are simply trying to keep the injured employee from filing what would otherwise be a claim covered by worker’s compensation. If you have been injured in a workplace incident in Virginia, please contact Kalfus & Nachman today at (855) 880-8163 or through the form on this page to schedule a free consultation. Our experienced Virginia workers’ comp lawyers are here to help you.

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