Welcome to the GGL Law Firm
The Law Office of Gerald G. Lutkenhaus
Virginia Workers' Compensation and Social Security Disability Attorney
Rated "ONE OF THE BEST" in Central Virginia*
with over 35 years of experience.
Contact me for a FREE EVALUATION regarding your Virginia Workers' Compensation accident, claim, denial, injury, disability, or settlement:
✍ GERALD'S CASE OF THE WEEK
Win in the Virginia Court of Appeals
Ms. Cooper was a surgical nurse who injured both knees slipping on the wet floor in the operating room. Her doctor provided her physical therapy that did not correct the problem. After two years, he finally decided she needed bilateral knee replacements. However, her employer's Workers' Compensation Insurer denied the claim. We won the hearing and the deputy commissioner ordered the insurer to pay for the surgery. Then the defense appealed the decision to the Court of Appeals. The Court denied the appeal and ordered the surgeries to be covered.
☞ GERALD'S TIP OF THE WEEK
How to Handle Vocational Placement in a Virginia Workers' Compensation Case
In Virginia, the insurer will press the doctor to release the injured worker to light duty soon after the work accident. If the doctor agrees, the insurer may assign a vocational placement counselor to the case.
The vocational counselor is an employee of the insurer (not independent). He or she is supposed to follow the guidelines set by the Virginia Workers' Compensation Commission and the rules for his or her license in Virginia.
First, the vocational counselor will try to place the injured worker back with his or her original employer. Sometimes the employer may create a light duty job. The employer has an incentive to take the injured worker back in order to lower its workers' comp insurance costs.
If the employer cannot accommodate the injured worker's restrictions, the vocational counselor will attempt to place the injured worker in a light duty job elsewhere. If a job offer is within the injured worker's restrictions, then the injured worker must attempt the job. If the injured worker makes less wages at the light duty job than his pre-injury job, then the insurer may only compensate the injured worker at two-thirds of the difference in wages. The insurer benefits from successful light duty placement because it doesn't have to pay as much compensation benefits.
The Virginia Workers' Compensation Act states the insurer is allowed to do vocational placement for a reasonable time before having to pay for any retraining or reeducation expenses. However, in my experience, the insurer rarely offers to pay for these expenses.
Failure to cooperate with vocational placement can be a serious office under Virginia Workers' Compensation law. If noncompliance is proven, it can result in suspension of benefits. The injured worker is well-advised to consult an experienced Workers' Compensation lawyer when faced with vocational placement by the insurer.
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Office LocationGGL Law Firm
4906 Fitzhugh Ave, Suite 201
Richmond, VA 23230-3519
Phone: (804) 335-0268
The Virginia Workers' Compensation and Social Security Disability Law Office of Gerald G. Lutkenhaus, located in Richmond, Virginia, is pleased to represent clients in:
Greater Richmond (including Bon Air, East End, Fan, Short Pump, West End), Amelia, Amelia Courthouse, Ashland, Burkeville, Caroline, Charles City Courthouse, Chester, Chesterfield, Colonial Heights, Crewe, Dinwiddie, Farmville, Glen Allen, Goochland, Hadensville, Hanover, Henrico, Hopewell, Jetersville, King William, Mechanicsville, Midlothian, Montpelier, New Kent, Nottoway, Petersburg, Powhatan, Prince George, Quinton, Rockville, South Hill, Sutherland, Warsaw, and Williamsburg.