An Update on Workers' Compensation Legislation in the General Assembly.
Scott C. Ford, Chair, Workers' Compensation Practice Group
The following is a brief overview of legislation introduced in this current legislative session before the Virginia General Assembly.
Items defeated or tabled.
Items approved or pending.
The first (HR 85/SR 30) involves the nomination and subsequent election of The Honorable Robert F. Newman to a six-year term with the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission beginning February 1, 2016. Commissioner Newman was originally appointed to the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission in 2013.
Next, potential legislation (HB 44) would codify the death presumption that currently exists in case law and expand it slightly. The bill establishes presumptions in claims under the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Act that the accident arose out of and in the course of employment if (i) the employee dies with there being no evidence that he ever regained consciousness after the accident, (ii) dies at the accident location or nearby, or (iii) is found dead where he is reasonably expected to be as an employee. These presumptions will exist in the absence of a preponderance of evidence to the contrary and where the factual circumstances are of sufficient strength from which the only rational inference to be drawn is that the accident arose out of and in the course of employment.
The last and largest piece of pending legislation is the establishment of fee schedules for medical and legal services in Virginia (HB 378/SB 631). Overall, the legislation seeks to establish fee schedules for medical services under the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Act in the absence of a contract to accept a specified amount. These fee schedules will be set every two years and the Commission will hire an outside contracting firm to assist it in establishing these amounts. This bill has been passed and signed by both the House and the Senate. It is now awaiting the approval of the Governor.
We encourage you to further read the full text of this pending legislation which can be found here.
The following is a brief status of the workers’ compensation bills introduced in the 2016 General Assembly Session. More information on each of these items, including full copies of the proposed legislation, can be found in Virginia’s Legislative Information System by clicking here.
House Bill 44: Injuries or deaths presumed to be in the course of employment.
House Bill 195: Presumption of compensability for certain diseases.
House Bill 207: Recovering damages from other party.
House Bill 253: Certificate of workers’ compensation compliance
House Bill 378/Senate Bill 631: Fee schedules for medical and legal services.
House Bill 490: Cost of living supplements
House Bill 639: Disease presumptions, correctional officers
House Resolution 85: Nomination for election of member
Senate Bill 92: Disease presumption for correctional officers
Senate Bill 239: Recovering damages from other party
Senate Bill 345: Employer’s duty when incapable of work
Senate Bill 474: Recovering damages from other party
Senate Bill 524: Presumption of compensability for certain diseases
Senate Bill 565: Presumption of compensability for certain diseases
Senate Bill 631: Fee schedules for medical services
Senate Resolution 30: Nomination for election of member