Del. Carter Files Bills to Reform Virginia’s Worker’s Compensation Policies

| January 9, 2018 | 0 Comments | News

Lee Carter, Delegate of Virginia’s 50th District.

Delegate-Elect Lee Carter (D-50) made good on his campaign promise, focusing his first three bills for the 2018 legislative session on reforming the Virginia Worker’s Compensation system.

Carter’s promise to make reforms to the system was inspired by his own experience with it when he was hurt on the job in 2015, and his injury was a large component of the reason Carter decided to run for the Virginia House of Delegates.

The first bill, HB 460, is the “Anti-retaliation” bill, which is intended to prevent works from being legally fired after being injured on the job.

“Right now in Virginia, it’s perfectly legal for you to be fired for getting hurt on the job, as long as you’re five seconds late, or another infinitesimally small infraction,” said Carter.

If HB 460 is adopted, Virginia employers will no longer be able to use an employee’s filing of a claim for workplace injury as even part of the basis for termination of employment.

The second bill, HB 461, is the “Timely notice” bill. It would require an employer to formally response to an employee’s claim of workplace injury within a ten day period without having to be compelled by the courts to do so.

“The currently law leaves Virginia workers vulnerable when trying to determine if their worker’s compensation claim will be approved, or what more information they’ll need to gather in their defense, if the employer denies the claim. It can also draw out the process, and this can be devastating to many Virginia workers that live paycheck to paycheck,” said Carter.

If HB 461 is adopted, employers will receive a timely response from their employer indicating whether they will approve the claim, deny the claim, or indicate the employee needs to provide additional specified information for the company to make a determination.

The third proposed bill, HB 462, the “Out-of-state protection” bill, is intended to protect Virginia employees when they are hurt while conducting out of state business.

According to Carter, current Virginia law applies a very restrictive three-part test for Virginia workers filing a worker’s compensation claim for work performed when an employee  was temporarily out of the state on official work-related business.

“If you get hurt on a business trip to California you’re probably going to be alright, but if you get hurt on a business trip to Mississippi, you’re going to have a much harder time,” said Carter of the varied state worker’s compensation statutes that can leave Virginia workers vulnerable.

If HB 462 is adopted, if one performs the majority of his or her typical work duties in Virginia or the employer is based in Virginia, and he is hurt on out-of-state on a business-related trip, he will now be able to file your worker’s compensation claim. This would not require a worker to file in Virginia if he wanted to file in another relevant jurisdiction.

The full text of the bills can be found on the LIS system here.

Adopted from a press release from Lee Carter’s Office

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