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Virginia: Failure to Follow Physician’s Cautionary Statement Made 19 Years Before Accident No Bar to Recovery

April 08, 2016 (1 min read)

Reversing a decision of the state’s Workers’ Compensation Commission, a Virginia appellate court held that a physician’s instruction, following a 1995 work-related knee injury, that the worker should avoid walking on uneven ground, was not sufficiently specific to justify denial of benefits for a 2014 injury that occurred when the worker and a co-worker simultaneously stepped across a drainage ditch and sank down in soft soil. The court stressed that generalized medical admonitions are insufficient. Moreover, assuming the worker had violated the medical restriction, there was no evidence that the violation of the specific restriction caused the employee’s injury. The court added that injury sustained by the employee must be the type of injury the restriction was designed to prevent. Quoting Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, the court indicated the “basic and indispensable ingredient of ‘accident’ is ‘unexpectedness.’”

Thomas A. Robinson, J.D., the Feature National Columnist for the LexisNexis Workers’ Compensation eNewsletter, is the co-author of Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law (LexisNexis).

LexisNexis Online Subscribers: Citations below link to Lexis Advance.

See Staton v. Brothers Signal Co., 2016 Va. App. LEXIS 102 (April 5, 2016)

See generally Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, §§ 32.01, 42.02.

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


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