Saturday, September 14, 2013

Virginia Workers Compensation & the Light Duty Job Search


Photo of Gerald Gregory Lutkenhaus
In a recent case before the Virginia Court of Appeals, City of Fredericksburg v. Grijalva, Record Number 0833-12-2 (September 4, 2012), the Court dealt with an appeal by an insurer of a Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission ruling favoring the claimant.
The insurer for the City attempted to reverse the award in favor of the claimant by asserting the claimant had failed to look adequately for light duty work. Although the claimant had not strictly followed the Commission guidelines in looking for work (http://www.vwc.state.va.us/portal/vwc-website/HelpfulResources/RulesRegulations) the Deputy Commissioner who observed the claimant’s testimony and demeanor had decided the claimant had made a "good faith job search."

This case is a triumph of substance over form. The claimant among other matters in her job search had not registered with the Virginia Employment Commission and had submitted some duplicate job applications. However, the Deputy Commissioner found she had done the best that she could do. The Full Commission decided it would defer to this "good faith: finding by the Deputy Commissioner.

This case illustrates the point that if the claimant can convince the Deputy Commissioner (who hears his or her testimony) he or she had done the best job she could under his/her particular circumstances the Full Commission will defer to the Deputy Commissioner.
Call or Email Jerry Lutkenhaus now for a free consultation about your case.
Jerry Lutkenhaus has been a practitioner of Virginia Workers Compensation law in the Richmond, VA for over 35 years. He was given an "AV" rating by Martindale-Hubbell in 2003. Richmond Magazine has listed Mr. Lutkenhaus as one of the best lawyers in central Virginia. There is more information at www.virginiadisabilitylawyer.com or www.geraldlutkenhaus.com. In 2010 he was given AVVO's highest rating of "superb" in their system. http://www.avvo.com/ attorneys/23230-va-gerald-lutkenhaus-1814627.html.
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