Virginia Workers’ Compensation for Occupational Diseases

Posted on Wednesday, November 30th, 2016 at 2:00 pm    

Most workers need to show they suffered a specific workplace injury that occurred at a specific point in time in order to recover workers’ compensation in Virginia.

There is an exception for workers who suffer a disease that is due to work. Most occupational diseases occur after months or more normally years of exposure. Many workers may not even know they acquired the disease until decades after the exposure. The delay in seeking treatment for the disease can be problematic for many workers because employers and their insurance companies are likely to initially deny coverage due to the delay and the failure to point to a specific triggering event.

Joe Miller Esq., understands the Virginia occupational illness laws. He fights for workers who suffer these diseases which are often deadly, life-threating, or disabling. He works with doctors to determine the disease, the cause of the disease, and to show the disease was related to daily work performance. For Virginia worker’s compensation, the last day the employee was exposed is generally considered the formal date of workplace injury; however the time period for the running of the two-year deadline to file the claim doesn’t occur until the worker has been told by a health care provider that he has a work-related disease.

The Virginia Statutory Definition of Occupational Disease

Here is the state statutory definition of occupational disease. Some exceptions may apply. An experienced Virginial workers’ compensation attorney will know those exceptions.

“Occupational disease” means a disease arising out of and in the course of employment, but not an ordinary disease of life to which the general public is exposed outside of the employment.

A disease shall be deemed to arise out of the employment only if there is apparent to the rational mind, upon consideration of all the circumstances:

  • A direct causal connection between the conditions under which work is performed and the occupational disease;
  • It can be seen to have followed as a natural incident of the work as a result of the exposure occasioned by the nature of the employment;
  • It can be fairly traced to the employment as the proximate cause;
  • It is neither a disease to which an employee may have had substantial exposure outside of the employment, nor any condition of the neck, back or spinal column;
  • It is incidental to the character of the business and not independent of the relation of employer and employee; and
  • It had its origin in a risk connected with the employment and flowed from that source as a natural consequence, though it need not have been foreseen or expected before its contraction.

Hearing loss and the condition of carpal tunnel syndrome are not occupational diseases. Virginia considers them to be ordinary diseases; however there are circumstances under which one can recover in such cases.

Ordinary Diseases

Generally, a worker who gets an ordinary disease does not qualify for workers’ compensation. A worker who gets an occupational disease does qualify – so it’s crucial to be able to prove that disease is occupational and not ordinary. Some ordinary diseases—such as various infections— may qualify as occupational diseases if the following conditions are clearly met if the disease can be shown to have arisen due to employment and not due to outside causes and if one of the following exists:

  1. It follows as an incident of occupational disease as defined in this title; or
  2. It is an infectious or contagious disease contracted in the course of one’s employment in a hospital or sanitarium or laboratory or nursing home, or while otherwise engaged in the direct delivery of health care, or in the course of employment as emergency rescue personnel and those volunteer emergency rescue personnel. Essentially, this means people who normally provide some type of healthcare service such as nurses and ER staff and who acquire a disease may qualify for workers’ compensation.
  3. It is characteristic of the employment and was caused by conditions peculiar to such employment.

Common Types of Occupational Diseases

Many of the people who suffer an occupational disease suffer exposure to toxic chemicals. Some of the diseases associated with hazardous chemical exposure are:

  • Diseases of the lung. Bronchitis, industrial asthma, lung cancer, and interstitial fibrosis
  • Nerve diseases. Chronic encephalopathy and peripheral polyneuropathy.
  • Another disease. Tuberculosis, hepatitis, Lyme disease, possibly HIV, cancer of the bladder or liver, heart disease.

Mesothelioma, a deadly form of cancer, is another common occupational work disease. Many workers got/get the disease due to exposure to asbestos. Many coal miners suffer from black lung disease.

Repetitive Motion Injuries and Emotional Stress Injuries

There are some occupational illnesses that are not due to exposure – rather they are due to repetitive stress. Workers who do a lot of computer work or repeat work such as assembly or machinist work can develop carpel tunnel syndrome and other repetitive stress injuries. Repetitive stress injuries are also called repeated motion injuries. The most common type of repetitive stress injury affects the wrists. If detected in time; rest, rehab, and some medications can help. If not detected in time, repetitive stress injuries can become a lifelong disability. Virginia workers’ compensation law does not generally cover repetitive stress injuries – with the one exception of carpal tunnel syndrome.

Conditions that are related to emotional stress such as depression or indigestion generally do not qualify for workers’ compensation coverage in Virginia. If the stress is caused by a one-time event such as suffering or witnessing a workplace accident or death, then the worker has a better chance of recovering workers’ compensation benefits. That being said, it must be the kind of job where one would not be expected to be exposed to such an event. For instance, a police officer who witnesses a shooting would probably not be able to recover for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder; however, a nurse or other type of worker might. An experienced Virginia workers’ compensation attorney such as Joe Miller can explain when emotional stress related disorders, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), are covered.

Talk to a Virginia Occupational Disease Attorney Now

Virginia work injury lawyer Joe Miller understands workers’ compensation work injury law. He has been helping injured Virginia workers for over quarter of a century. He understands what workers need to prove to qualify for occupational disease benefits. For help now, call Joe Miller at (888) 694-1671 or fill out his online contact form.

Where Workplace Accidents Happen Most Often

Posted on Monday, October 31st, 2016 at 2:00 pm    

Accidents at work happen for many reasons. Employers should be aware of the various causes and take steps to try to avoid these types of workplace accidents or, at least, take preventive steps to try to reduce them.  A common misconception is that the employer has to be negligent or “at fault” for the accident at work. This is false. Workers in North Carolina and Virginia do not have to prove that the  employer was responsible for a workplace accident in order to have a valid workers compensation case. The worker just needs to prove a workplace accident did occur at some specific moment in time, and the injuries were caused by the workplace accident. Still, the best way employers can help their workers is to take safety precautions to prevent the accident from occurring.

Attorney Joe Miller is an experienced North Carolina and Virginia Workers’ Compensation attorney. When a common or uncommon workplace injury occurs, he has the skills and tenacity to file, negotiate, and litigate your work injury claim. He also understands that often times the type of accident is an indicator of the types of injuries that occur and the typical time frame for how long the worker will likely be out of work.

The Most Common Types of Workplace Accidents

·       Workplace violence. Many injuries are caused when workers get into arguments with other workers or when a worker has mental health issues and that instability leads him/her to lash out at other workers. In Virginia, if the employee was an unwitting victim of horseplay or violence, he or she still has a valid claim. On the other hand, if the worker was a willing participant, this may invalidate the claim, especially if the argument had nothing to do with the work at hand.

·       Repetitive Stress or noise exposure. Many workers suffer injures due to repetitive motions such as working with computers or performing the same tasks over and over and over again in an assembly line or using hand tools. These are known as occupational disease injuries. Employees who suffer this type of stress often get injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome, or hearing loss.  Better equipment and better training, and rule enforcement can help reduce these types of injuries. Employees who suffer repetitive motion injuries, hearing loss, or some other injury they believe was caused by conditions at work need to speak to an experienced Workers’ Compensation lawyer because there are very specific things that need to be proven in order to qualify for a valid occupational disease case.

·       Getting clothes or body parts entangled in machinery. Clothing, hair, fingers, shoelaces, and other items can get caught in the machinery which can then cause severe injuries including loss of a body part. Employers should make sure workers are educated about the risks of working with some types of equipment and take necessary preventative steps. Examples of safety measures include better equipment and educating the employee about proper work techniques. We often see some of the most severe injuries where employers cut corners by failing to properly maintain equipment, failing to utilize machine safety guards, deliberately disengaging safety devices, or failing to have any written, enforced rules or procedures for hazardous work duties.

·       Car and truck accidents. Many workers such as construction workers or delivery drivers use vehicles for their job.  Vehicle accidents can be deadly or cause serious injuries.  Workers should be advised on the local driving rules and on how to properly operate the vehicles – especially trucks. Employers should have clearly defined and enforced safety rules which require the use of seatbelts at all times.

·       Lack of industry standard simple safety measures. Many workers get injured because they are concentrating so hard on immediate physical tasks that they fail to see objects that can hurt them. For example, a worker may not see a door, table, while carrying a heavy load, or not see a person while driving a forklift around a corner.  Also Employers should create a work environment that minimizes these types of accidents. For instance, the installation of wide-view mirrors at strategic points in a plant or factory can increase visibility of oncoming vehicles and people. Creating ergonomic environments where employees with restricted vision will have a path clear of obstacles is also helpful.

·       Falling Objects. Employers should make sure that shelves aren’t overstocked and that items hanging from the roof or other high places are secure. Workers should be advised to wear helmets in certain work areas. Injuries can include brain damage, head trauma, and pain in the area where the object strikes the worker.

·       Slips and Falls. This type of workplace accident is very common. Workers can slip or trip when there are loose objects lying around, the floors are slippery, there are tears in carpets, or for a variety of other reasons. Injuries can include broken bones, soft tissue injuries, bruises, concussions, and lacerations. In severe cases, a worker may suffer death or permanent injury.

·       Falls from High Places. Workers who use ladders, work on roofs, or work on stairwells can slip and fall. While protective gear can help, anyone who falls from a high height is likely to suffer a long-term injury. Proper spotting and use of safety harnesses as required by OSHA is essential. We have seen too many workers get injured in this fashion when again, employers are willing to cut corners and not create or enforce strict rules in relation to working at heights.

·       Overexertion. Many workplace accidents happen simply because the worker is being pushed too hard, and we often see this occur in the heat. When workers are tired, they are much more likely to trip, fall, fail to see other objects, or fail to use proper techniques, not to mention suffer heat stroke or a heart attack. Fatigue is a major cause of workplace accidents and is one of the most preventable – making sure the employee gets enough rest, and is provided with appropriate opportunities for cool-down and hydration.

Additional causes of workplace accidents

The US Department of Labor, through the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), keeps regular records of why workplace accidents occur.  In addition to the causes listed above, some other causes of workplace accidents, according to OSHA, include:

·       Poor communication – especially about safety issues

·       Failure to provide respiratory protection

·       Faulty equipment including up-to-code scaffolding equipment, bad ladders, and machines without safety guards

·       Forklift malfunctions and misuse

·       Electrical failures such as improper wiring

The list or reasons workplace accidents occur is virtually never-ending.  Still, trying to categorize them makes it easier to work to prevent them. Some additional causes, that are human related, include:

·       Taking shortcuts.  Workers should never place speed over safety. Failing to take proper precautions can cause injury and death. Unfortunately, employers often encourage this behavior in the name of higher profits.

·       Failure to clean up. Workplace supervisors should inspect the workplace before work starts each day to make sure the place is free of debris, that equipment functions properly, and that all loose elements such as overheard storage are secure.

·       Poor training and preparation. Workers should be trained on how to use each piece of machinery or equipment. They should also be trained on everyday workplace safety issues to avoid injuries and to respond to them quickly when they do happen. There should also be written enforceable rules, and daily safety meetings prior to work beginning to address specific concerns of employee and management.

·       Failure to address mental and emotional issues. Many workers have personal concerns that should be addressed. Workers who are thinking about their family members or other aspects of their personal lives are not focusing on safety. Employers should make some effort to help workers have the time to address personal issues so the worker can be safe and more productive.

Speak with a trusted Workers’ Compensation Today

If you were hurt in any type of workplace accident, do not delay. Even though the employee does not have to prove the employer was negligent, it does help a great deal to be able to show how the accident occurred. You may be leaving out a critical detail that could mean the difference between your employer covering or denying your case.  For our free, quick, elite, 7-step case evaluation,  phone Joe Miller Esq.  at (888) 694-1671 or fill out his contact form. Attorney Miller represents injured workers in both Virginia and in North Carolina.

How to Figure the Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) in Virginia Workers’ Compensation Cases

Posted on Wednesday, July 6th, 2016 at 2:00 pm    

Workers need to ask for the COLA each and every year by the due date. It is best to work with an experienced and skilled Virginia Workers’ Compensation Lawyer who will record the deadlines and notify clients of when they should request their COLA. The most important thing to remember is that you will need to take the COLA Request Form down to your local Social Security Office and have a Social Security Representative sign the form to prove that you are not receiving social security disability. Of course, you must sign it as well. Workers receiving SSDI are generally not eligible to receive Workers Comp COLA.

The Commission does make this easier with a COLA Calculator.

Key factors in figuring the amount of the cost of living increase are:

  • Accident Date
  • Begin Date
  • End Date
  • Compensation Rate
  • COLA Paid
  • Compounded Comp Rate
  • Maximum In Effect
  • Total Due
  • Difference

Keep up with inflation. Claim your COLA on time every year.

Attorney Joe Miller understands that an award of benefits is not the end of the process. If you are entitled to benefits year after year, then you are entitled to a cost of living adjustment to keep up with inflation. The COLA adjustment means money in your wallet but only if you ask for it. Attorney Joe Miller explains to applicants how the COLA process works and when they must file to get the COLA benefit. Ask Joe Miller Esq. for advice today by calling 888-694-1671 or filling out his online contact form.

Calculating Interest Payments in Virginia Work Injury Cases

Posted on Monday, July 4th, 2016 at 2:00 pm    

If payment of benefits is delayed due to Appeal, the injured worker may be eligible for interest.

An experienced Virginia Workers’ Compensation attorney like Joe Miller Esq. understands how to arrive at the key figure. The Virginia Workers Comp Commission has also made this easier with an Interest Calculator in the event your case is appealed. The key items that need to be reviewed to calculate the interest due on compensation benefits are:

  • The Accident Date
  • The Date of the Opinion
  • Benefit Start Date
  • Benefit End Date
  • Compensation Rate
  • Date Paid
  • Weeks Due
  • Daily Interest Rate
  • Amount Due at Date of Opinion
  • Days Delayed
  • Interest Due
  • Total Compensation

Hurt at work? Get all the money you deserve.

.Sometimes employers delay making payment for invalid reasons, for the hope that you will give up, or for other reasons. Whatever the reason, if you are entitled to compensation – the employer should not be rewarded for any delay. Attorney Joe Miller has the experience you need to get interest for delay and to properly calculate your compensation benefits. Call Joe Miller to review your claim at 888-694-1671 or complete his online contact form.

Lump Sum Calculations for Compensation

Posted on Friday, July 1st, 2016 at 2:00 pm    

Some workers are in a position, if they have reached maximum medical improvement, to consider a lump sum settlement. Lump sum settlements are very complicated. You only get one lump sum settlement which means once you accept a settlement you cannot go back and say that you missed something. An experienced Virginia workers’ compensation lawyer guides clients through this phase very carefully.

Some of the considerations in a lump sum settlement for just the compensation part of the claim from a math viewpoint are:

  • The date of the accident
  • The start date for compensation and benefits
  • The disability weeks awarded
  • The compensation rate
  • The date for the request of the lump sum
  • Disability weeks already accrued – through what date
  • The total number of lump sum weeks left
  • The lump sum amount
  • The discount compensation rate – the amount of compensation may be discounted because the worker gets it now instead of over a period of time
  • The discount lump sum

Don’t try this on your own. 

There are many other benefits that should be factored into an overall lump sum settlement such as vocational rehabilitation expenses and future medical expenses, ongoing prescription medications, potential future surgeries or other procedures, and any Award or Potential Award for Permanent Partial Impairment.

Get legal help before you settle your Virginia work injury claim.

You only get one chance to make a lump sum long-term settlement. To make sure it is done correctly, you need the help of an experienced Virginia work injury lawyer. Attorney Joe Miller has that experience. He has been helping injured workers get justice for over 25 years. He works to address every benefit and every dollar you deserve. He works to determine your long term needs. Call Joe Miller for an appointment today at 888-694-1671 . You can also complete his contact form online or make an appointment.

Calculating Your Basic Compensation Benefit if You Are Hurt on the Job in Virginia

Posted on Monday, June 27th, 2016 at 2:00 pm    

The Virginia Worker’s’ Compensation website includes an online calculator to help you determine the basic amount of lost income you are due. The best course of action is to have your attorney determine the amount. An injured work lawyer knows what information is needed and how all the calculations are done. Some of the key factors in deterring basic compensation are:

  • The date of the injury
  • Your average weekly wage
  • Your partial weekly wage
  • Your compensation rate
  • The start date of compensation
  • The end date of compensation
  • The total amount of weeks you are due compensation
  • The total amount of compensation due
  • The total amount of compensation paid

Get help with your work injury case today.

Getting the right result in you work injury case requires an experienced Virginia work injury lawyer. Someone who knows the broad arguments but who also pays attention to the details. Joe Miller Esq. has helped thousands of clients get a just recovery for work injuries and illnesses in Virginia. Call Joe Miller at the Work Injury Center today for a consultation at 888-694-1671. You can also complete his contact form.

Links to the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Law

Posted on Wednesday, June 22nd, 2016 at 2:00 pm    

Injured Workers can find a lot of useful information on the state Worker’s Compensation Site. One useful link is as follows:

This link provides the various sections of the state workers’ compensation law. Your Virginia injured worker lawyer understands the law and what each section means for you. It is best to review your case with an experienced Virginia Workers’ Compensation attorney.

The main sections of the law are listed below:

Chapter 1

Definitions and General Provisions

Chapter 2

Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission

Chapter 3

Application and Effect of Title

Chapter 4

Occupational Diseases

Chapter 5

Compensation and Payment Thereof

Chapter 6

Notice of Accident; Filing Claims; Medical Attention and Examination

Chapter 7

Procedure in Connection with Awards

Chapter 8

Insurance and Self-Insurance

Chapter 9

Reports and Records

Chapter 10

Administrative Fund and Tax Therefor

Chapter 11

Second Injury Fund

Chapter 12

Uninsured Employer’s Fund

Chapter 13

Peer Review of Medical Costs

Speak with an experienced Virginia Workers’ Compensation attorney today

Attorney Joe Miller has been helping workers injured in Virginia and North Carolina for over 25 years. He has helped thousands of clients get justice from the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission and your employer. Joe Miller understands the arguments employers and insurance companies make to try to deny or limit your benefits. He fights to get workers all the money they deserve. Phone lawyer Joe Miller today at 888-694-1671 to discuss your case or fill out his online contact form.

Virginia Allows for Reimbursement of Rehabilitation Expenses

Posted on Monday, June 20th, 2016 at 2:00 pm    

The Virginia Workers’ Commission recognizes the difficulties workers have in trying to get healthy enough to work again. One of those difficulties is advancing a lot of funds that they do not really have. Workers who keep accurate records should get reimbursement for the following vocational rehabilitation related expenses, if they are reasonable:

  • Mileage costs to vocational rehabilitation meetings
  • Obtaining or returning applications
  • Attending interviews
  • Costs incurred for telephone calls
  • Photocopying
  • Postage
  • Obtaining DMV and other records

“If the claimant does not have access to transportation, it is the responsibility of the employee to notify the vocational rehabilitation provider. The vocational rehabilitation provider should contact the carrier regarding the issue and make appropriate arrangements as directed/approved by the carrier to insure the employee’s attendance at meetings and interviews. This may include the carrier forwarding mileage payments in advance or arranging appropriate alternative transportation. The employee must provide information explaining why transportation is/is not available.”

Helping injured workers get all the benefits they deserve

Virginia Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Joe Miller understands that every penny counts. He explains all the benefits that workers are allowed including what expenses can be reimbursed.  Attorney Miller advises clients on how to keep proper records so reimbursement will be approved. For help with any aspect of you Virginia work injury claim, call attorney Joe Miller at the Work Injury Center at 888-694-1671 or complete his contact form. He is ready to help you now.

Responsibilities of an Injured Employee

Posted on Wednesday, June 15th, 2016 at 2:00 pm    

Injured employees in Virginia must meet several basic requirements in order to be eligible for benefits. An experienced Virginia workers’ compensation benefits will work to help employees comply with these requirements. The lawyer will answer your questions and work to maximize the amount of total benefits.


  1. Give notice to the employer as soon as possible.
  2. File a claim with the Workers’ Compensation Commission within two years from
  • The date of the accident or
  • The date the doctor diagnoses an occupational disease.
  1. Select a doctor from a panel of three provided by the employer/carrier. Do not change doctors without employer/carrier permission or after a hearing by the Commission.
  2. Seek and accept employment if released to light duty and not under an Award, and if under an Award, cooperate with vocational rehabilitation.
  3. Do not refuse treatment with your doctors.


Injured at Work? Virginia Injured Worker’s Lawyer Joe Miller explains your rights and duties

Joe Miller understands all aspects of Virginia workers’ compensation law. He has been helping injured and ill workers get justice for over 25 years. He takes the hard cases. He anticipates many of the arguments defense lawyers make. Joe Miller fights to get clients all the benefits they rightfully deserve. Phone lawyer Joe Miller at 888-694-1671 and ask for Joe Miller, or email

Vocational Rehabilitation Benefits in Virginia Work Injury Cases Explained

Posted on Monday, June 13th, 2016 at 2:00 pm    

Employees who cannot return to their pre-injury employment but can work because their health has returned but must look for light duty work or alternative work may be entitled to vocational retraining.

Which you have to do depends on whether you are under an Open Award. If you are not under an Open Award, then you are required to seek employment within your restrictions on your own. This is called marketing your residual capacity.

If you are under an Open Award, then it is the employer and comp carrier’s burden to prove you are able to work if they wish to stop your benefits. This is often done through vocational rehabilitation.

“The two goals of vocational rehabilitation are to restore the employee to gainful employment, and to relieve the employer’s burden of future compensation. Rehabilitation providers should attempt to find employment within the employee’s medical restrictions consistent with the employee’s pre-injury position and salary level, and the provider should take into account such factors as distance, transportation costs, and actual anticipated earnings from the potential job, when considering such alternative employment.”


An experienced Virginia workers’ compensation attorney understands the process, how much retraining is normally authorized, and many of the practical issues such as all the little expenses association with training – fees, books, tuition, transportation, etc.


The fact is you must be on guard if you have been asked to participate in vocational rehabilitation. I urge you to DOWNLOAD MY BOOK to learn more about what the process is really all about.


Injured at Work? Contact an experienced work injury lawyer now.

Attorney Joe Miller has the experience and resources to professionally handle every aspect of your Virginia Worker’s compensation claim. He has written books on Virginia workers’ compensation law, representing thousands of clients, and obtained strong results for his clients. He has been helping Virginia workers for over 25 years. Call lawyer Joe Miller at 888-694-1671 for an appointment or complete his online contact form.

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