When Workers’ Compensation isn’t allowed in Virginia

There are some exceptions to when employees can get benefits under Virginia Workers’ Compensation laws. Many of these exceptions occur when the employee has misbehaved in some fashion, generally referred to as ‘willful misconduct.’ These events may disqualify an employee from collecting workers’ comp benefits:

  • The employee’s willful misconduct or intentional self-inflicted injury;
  • The employee’s attempt to injure another;
  • The employee’s intoxication;
  • The employee’s willful failure or refusal to use a safety appliance or perform a duty required by statute;
  • The employee’s willful breach of any reasonable rule or regulation adopted by the employer and brought, prior to the accident, to the knowledge of the employee; or
  • The employee’s use of certain non-prescribed controlled substances identified in the Virginia statutes.

Generally, the employer has the burden of proof to prove the employee’s conduct crossed the line. If it’s determined that alcohol or non-prescribed controlled substances were in the employee’s bodily fluids or test results then the burden may shift. Death may also complicate the burden of proof.

An employer who wants to rely on one of these ‘willful misconduct’ defenses must give notice to the employee or his or her attorney, and file with the Commission Notice of its intent to rely on such a defense no less than 15 days prior to a hearing. The Notice must include a statement of the particular actions of the employee that the employer says constitutes willful misconduct.

Contact a Norfolk Workers’ Comp Attorney for Help

If you’ve suffered a workplace accident and can show you were an employee when the accident happened, you can likely file a workers’ compensation claim with the help of a lawyer. Norfolk attorney Joe Miller at Joe Miller Law, Ltd., has been helping accident victims in Virginia and North Carolina for over 25 years, and he can help you fight to pursue compensation for your lost wages to the fullest amount allowed. To learn more, call Joe Miller Law, Ltd., today at (888) 694-1671.