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Workers' Compensation

Virginia: No Compensable "Injury" Unless There is "Mechanical or Structural Change" in Body Part

Virginia's "sudden mechanical or structural change" element serves two functions, held the state's Supreme Court. On the one hand, its purpose was to require that an injury arise from an "accident," and not merely arise as a gradual onset of symptoms. Moreover, however, it was utilized to define "injury." Unless there had been a "mechanical or structural change" in the relevant body part of the employee, there was no "injury." The Court reversed a lower court decision that said a claimant need not need prove a structural or mechanical change in every body part affected by an obvious accident as long as there was at least one sudden mechanical or structural change and the injury had been caused by the 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 Alexandria City Pub. Sch. v. Handel, 2020 Va. LEXIS 115 (Oct. 15, 2020)

See generally Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, §§ 42.01, 43.03.

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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