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Workers' Compensation

Virginia: Injuries Occurring Two Years Apart Can Still Be from “Same Accident”

A decision by Virginia’s Workers’ Compensation Commission that held a claimant was entitled to permanent total disability benefits (as opposed to PPD benefits) for the loss of two limbs “in the same accident” [see Va. Code Ann. § 65.2-503(C)], was not erroneous in spite of the fact that the underlying injuries to the limbs were separated by two years, held a state appellate court. Utilizing the “compensable consequence” doctrine, the Court stressed that when the primary injury was shown to have arisen out of and in the course of employment, every natural consequence that flowed from the injury likewise arose out of the employment, unless it is the result of an independent intervening cause attributable to claimant’s own intentional conduct. Here the worker sustained an injury to the left arm and neck in 2009 and then, two years later, sustained a knee injury when he became dizzy and fell as a result of pain medication he was taking in the aftermath of surgery to treat the 2009 injuries. Though they occurred two years apart, the injuries were from the “same accident.”

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

LexisNexis Online Subscribers: Citations below link to Lexis Advance.

See Merck & Co. v. Vincent, 2020 Va. App. LEXIS 18 (Jan. 14, 2020)

See generally Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, § 10.02.

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

For a more detailed discussion of the case, see

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