Virginia: Firefighter’s Presumption Requires Entitlement to “Some Form of Economic Indemnity”

In an opinion not designated for publication, a Virginia appellate court affirmed a decision by the state’s Workers’ Compensation Commission that held a retired firefighter-medic was not entitled to utilize the state’s “firefighter’s presumption” in connection with his claim for medical benefits related to his heart condition.  Agreeing with the claimant that he was not required to show any actual loss of earnings resulting from his claimed heart condition, the court nevertheless held that he was required to show entitlement to “some form of economic indemnity” in order to receive the benefit of the presumption. Quoting extensively from Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, the court said that the disability concept is a blend of two ingredients: (1) disability in the medical or physical sense, as evidenced by obvious loss of members or by medical testimony that the claimant simply cannot make the necessary muscular movements and exertions; and (2) de facto inability to earn wages, as evidenced by proof that claimant has not in fact earned anything.  While the firefighter need not actually show a loss of earnings, something more than that supplied was required to gain the benefit of the presumption.

Thomas A. Robinson, J.D., the Feature National Columnist for the LexisNexis Workers’ Compensation eNewsletter, is a leading commentator and expert on the law of workers’ compensation.

LexisNexis Online Subscribers: Citations below link to Lexis Advance. Bracketed citations link to lexis.com.

See Lipscomb v. City of Lynchburg, 2014 Va. App. LEXIS 210 (May 27, 2014) [2014 Va. App. LEXIS 210 (May 27, 2014)]

See generally Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, § 52.07 [52.07]

For a more detailed discussion of the case, see http://www.workcompwriter.com/virginia-court-firefighters-presumption-requires-showing-of-entitlement-to-some-form-of-economic-indemnity/

Source: Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, the nation’s leading authority on workers’ compensation law.

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