Norfolk Workers Compensation Attorney

Virginia Attempts to Reduce Cases of Worker Misclassification

by | June 8th, 2015

The construction industry is a vital component to the economy of Virginia, bringing millions of dollars to the region annually; however, construction sites and zones are also where a large portion of Virginia’s on-the-job injuries and fatalities occur as well. Our Norfolk workers’ compensation attorneys at Lowell Stanley Injury Lawyers explain that unfortunately, some of these victims don’t receive the treatment and compensation they are legally entitled to.

One of the reasons injured workers aren’t getting the care they deserve is because some employers choose to misclassify their workers in order to lower costs. By claiming an employee is an independent subcontractor, an employer can reduce the number of workers they must claim. This not only reduces insurance payments and rates, but also prevents a misclassified worker from filing a claim if they’re injured.

That’s why, according to Safety +Health magazine, the Virginia Occupational Safety and Health program is working to reduce incidents of worker misclassification.

The agency has adopted new policies that will allow officials to request contractors and subcontractors provide proof of licensing from the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation if inspectors suspect a worker has been misclassified. The new rules will go into effect beginning July 1.

At Lowell Stanley Injury Lawyers, we recognize the struggles that can accompany an on-the-job accident and our Norfolk personal injury lawyers are here to help. If you’ve been hurt while working, give us a call at (757) 459-CASH and let us assist you along the road to recovery.

 

 

Changes Considered for Virginia Workers’ Compensation Benefits

by | January 12th, 2015

Most companies in Virginia strive to protect the health and safety of workers, but sometimes accidents happen. Luckily, most businesses and companies in the commonwealth are required by law to carry an insurance policy that offers Virginia workers’ compensation benefits to an injured employee in the event of an accident; however, many businesses will see a change in pricing for these policies in the new year.

According to an article from the Augusta Free Press, the State Corporation Commission has approved changes to the law proposed by the National Council on Compensation Insurance. The reforms will result in a majority of employers seeing an increase in costs for Virginia workers’ compensation benefits insurance.

Coal mining operations are expected to see the greatest increases in cost, with coverage for underground operations spiking by more than 10 percent while surface operations could see costs swell by as much as 15 percent.

So what do these increases in costs mean for workers? Some experts believe it could result in more employers failing to procure coverage or report accidents. The rise in costs could also lead to more conservative decisions being issued on new Virginia workers’ compensation benefits claims.

The Norfolk personal injury attorneys with Lowell Stanley Injury Lawyers say these are just a few reasons why its so important to have legal representation by your side if you’ve been injured on the job. Our team of lawyers is here to help. Call us today at (757) 459-CASH for a free consultation of your case if you’ve been seriously injured while working.

 

Who Bears the Burden of Proof in a Virginia Workers’ Compensation Benefits Case?

by | December 22nd, 2014

When workers in the Commonwealth of Virginia are injured on the job, they may be entitled to receive workers’ compensation benefits, but it’s important to remember that claimants bear the burden of proving their condition is the result of an injury they sustained while working.

Take the case of a woman who was seeking Virginia workers’ compensation benefits after suffering a slip and fall accident while employed by a national retailer. She suffered broken bones as a result of the fall, which required her to undergo corrective surgery.

The costs associated with her treatment and lost wages added up, so she applied for Virginia workers’ compensation benefits; however, the claim was denied on the grounds the woman “failed to meet her burden of establishing that her injury arose out of her employment”.

According to reports from Business Insurance, the decision was later overturned in an appeal claiming the burden of proof was never met. That ruling was later overturned after a panel of judges found “workplace hazards” were to blame for the accident.

This particular case highlights the complexities of the Virginia workers’ compensation benefits system as well as the need to have qualified legal representation by your side when filing for such benefits.

At Lowell Stanley Injury Lawyers, we have a team of Norfolk personal injury attorneys that will not only help you understand the legalities of your case, but will also advocate on your behalf in court. To learn more about how we can help if you’ve been injured on the job, call us at (757) 459-CASH.

The Relationship Between Shipyard Employment and Virginia Workers’ Compensation Benefits

by | November 22nd, 2014

All jobs come with certain inherent risks, but jobs in shipyards are some of the most dangerous jobs a person can hold. Those who work in shipyards face an on-the-job injury rate twice that of the construction industry. Although many shipyard and dock workers follow safety procedures and do their best to avoid workplace accidents, the Norfolk personal injury attorneys with Lowell Stanley Injury Lawyers say fall hazards are one of the most regularly reported risks at this particular type of job site.

In fact, a Norfolk shipyard is facing tens of thousands of dollars in fines for exposing workers to such risks. An article from WAVY 10 News explains that during an Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) inspection conducted in May 2014, investigators found dozens of safety violations. Those infractions included exposing workers to fall risks of greater than 30 feet and failing to have fall prevention equipment in place. Reports show electrical risks were found as well.

The violations have resulted in fines of more than $100,000.

So what should you do if you work in a shipyard and are injured on the job? Filing a Virginia workers’ compensation claim should be your first step, but the steps to complete the process of receiving compensation can be complex. That’s why the team of lawyers with Lowell Stanley are available to help you with your claim. We will not only answer any questions you have regarding your legal situation, but we’ll also advocate on your behalf in court. We’re available to speak with you anytime about your Virginia workers’ compensation claim by calling (757) 549-CASH.

 

Penalties Increased for Failing to Carry Virginia Workers’ Compensation Coverage

by | August 4th, 2014

State law requires most employers in the Commonwealth of Virginia to carry an insurance policy that will cover expenses in the event an accident occurs that leaves a worker injured. Unfortunately, many employers attempt to avoid the costs of carrying Virginia workers’ compensation coverage by misclassifying employees on their payroll.

The state is working to address this issue though. In fact, the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission just announced it would be increasing the penalties for any company that is caught committing infractions of employment fraud.

A press release from the agency states uninsured employers will face a civil penalty of as much as $250 per day—with a maximum of $50,000— for non-compliance. The new regulations apply to any company or person who hires two or more part- or full-time employees. Those who use subcontractors must also count those individuals as their employees as well.

The hope is that new regulations and better investigations will deter companies from attempting to list employees as “independent contractors” in order to save money. The agency says they will be closely observing how control is exerted over a worker’s manner and means of completing their tasks in order to make a determination as to how an employee should be classified.

At Lowell Stanley Injury Lawyers, our Norfolk personal injury attorneys have seen the effects a lack of benefits and resources can have on injured workers, which is why we are hopeful the reforms being made in Virginia will help provide Virginia workers’ compensation coverage to more workers.

2 Recent Changes to Virginia Workers’ Compensation Law

by Addison Durham | July 22nd, 2014

Employers in the commonwealth of Virginia have a responsibility—by law—to protect the health and safety of workers they hire. Failure to do so has resulted in costly penalties and the potential of facing civil litigation in the past, but now the laws have been changed to make the punishment for not providing Virginia workers’ compensation coverage even greater.

Under previous Virginia state law, an employer not carrying a workers’ compensation insurance package to cover the costs associated with a workplace accident could result in a fine of anywhere between $500 and $5,000. According to an article from The News Virginian, the penalties were raised on July 1 to anywhere between $250 per day, per noncompliance, or a total of up to $50,000 in penalties plus collection costs.

These are the first changes to the penalties for failing to carry workers’ compensation coverage in about 20-years and were made in an effort to curb the number of employers who found it cheaper to face penalties in the event of an accident than to carry insurance.

Other changes to Virginia workers’ compensation law that went into effect this month include stiffer penalties for employers who misclassify employees in order to avoid coverage or reduce rates.

The key to these reforms being effective will be holding companies responsible. That means employees who are hurt on the job should report the incident to the proper authorities immediately. The Norfolk personal injury lawyers with Lowell “The Hammer” Stanley also encourage accident victims to discuss their potential rights to compensation with an attorney prior to settling with a workers’ compensation insurer.

3 Steps to a Virginia Workers’ Compensation Benefits Claim

by | April 21st, 2014

Employers in the state of Virginia have a responsibility to protect the health and well-being of their employees; however, accidents can still sometimes occur that can leave workers seriously injured. The medical bills associated with such incidents can grow out of control, especially if the injury leaves an individual unable to work. The stresses that can accompany life after an accident can be immense, but there is help available to these individuals through Virginia workers’ compensation benefits.

Most businesses and employers in the state are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance that covers the expenses associated with on-the-job injuries. But the process for filing a workers’ compensation claim can be confusing. Norfolk injury attorney Lowell “The Hammer” Stanley explains the steps for getting workers’ compensation in Virginia include:

  • Filing a Claim- The injured worker or their legal representative must notify their employer of their injury within 30 days, and must file a claim with the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission within two years of the accident occurring.
  • Processing- The employer’s insurance company will examine the claim, then either offer a settlement or deny the claim based on their findings.
  • Appeal- If the settlement is not sufficient or the claim is denied, the individual has a right to seek to have the decision overturned through the court system.

Lowell “The Hammer” Stanley and his team of attorneys recognize how complex and confusing these processes can be, which is why they suggest speaking with a reputable lawyer if you have been hurt on the job.

Three Norfolk Employees Awarded More Than $1 Million For Injuries

by | March 4th, 2013

March 4, 2013

The railroad company, Norfolk Southern Corp., has been ordered by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to pay more than $1 million to three employees who were wrongfully terminated after suffering work-related injuries.

According to an OSHA press release, a crane operator suffered an eye injury when struck by a piece of metal while working. The company took the worker out of service following the accident and formally fired him a short time later. Norfolk Southern listed the reason for the termination as giving false statements regarding the accident.

Then, the company fired a welder and his assistant after the pair was involved in a car accident. The men were said to be riding in a company truck when another vehicle ran a red light and hit a car. The second vehicle then struck the men’s work truck. The men initially didn’t seek medical treatment, but as their shoulder pains grew, they were taken to a local hospital.

An investigation determined Norfolk Southern had terminated the men’s employment based on their reporting injuries and claimed the men would not have been let go had they not reported the injuries.

The Norfolk Personal Injury Lawyers with the law firm of Lowell “The Hammer” Stanley explain workers have a right to a healthy and safe environment in which to work. When an accident does occur, an employer has a responsibility to cover the expenses through Virginia Workers’ Compensation. Failure to provide either is against the law.

Virginia Logger Killed In On-The-Job Accident

by los | March 12th, 2012

March 12, 2012

The Virginia Department of Labor is investigating an on-the-job accident that left a logger dead in New Kent County Thursday morning. According to reports from WVEC 13 News, the accident happened near the New Kent Highway near Quinton, Virginia, just west of Tunstall Road.

The New Kent County Sheriff’s Department, along with fire and rescue squads, reported receiving a call from a man who was screaming for help in the area. By the time they arrived at the scene, it was too late, as they found the body of the victim pinned beneath a large limb of a tree.

They were able to determine that the body was that of a 61-year-old Brodnax man who owned his own tree service. They believe he was working alone in the area when the large branch fell and crushed him.

The combination of heavy equipment, powerful tools, heavy ropes and cables, and the uncertain nature of the work can cause even the most experienced loggers to become seriously injured. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that the fatality rate for loggers in the U.S. is over 16 times higher than the overall fatality rate for all other workers in the U.S. in 2008. The findings have led to stiffer industry safety regulations in recent years.

The Virginia Wrongful Death Lawyers with Lowell “The Hammer” Stanley would like to send their condolences to the family of the victim of this tragic accident.