eNotes: Workers’ Compensation – March 2022 – Virginia
March 21, 2022
SIGNIFICANT CASE SUMMARIES
VA CASE SUMMARY
Kincaid v. State Police
Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission
Decided: February 8, 2022
The provisions that bar recovery of pre-notice compensation in accident cases do not equally apply to bar payment of pre-notice compensation in occupational disease cases.
Claimant is a state trooper who was diagnosed with work-related hypertension on April 26, 2019. He notified his employer of the diagnosis on October 8, 2019. At a hearing on Claimant’s occupational disease claim, the Employer argued that they were not obligated to pay medical benefits prior to Claimant giving proper notice. In addition, citing Va. Code § 65.2-600(c), the Employer argued that they were also not obligated to pay for indemnity benefits before Claimant gave notice.
The Deputy Commissioner agreed that Claimant was not entitled to medical benefits prior to the giving of notice, but found that Claimant was indeed entitled to the payment of disability benefits prior to tendering notice.
The Full Commission affirmed. Chapter 4 expressly bars entitlement to medical benefits prior to notice of an occupational disease, and has no such bar for indemnity benefits. However, the Commission specifically addressed the narrower question of whether § 65.2-600(c), which disqualifies entitlement for pre-notice compensation in accident cases, applied in disease cases as well. Citing the legislative intent, the Commission noted that the word “accident” is used in the Chapter 6 language, and therefore it cannot apply to diseases. Furthermore, the proposed bar on pre-notice recovery is absent from Chapter 4, so we can presume the General Assembly did not intend to have that bar apply to disease cases.
Notice of occupational disease is still crucial, but only for denial of pre-notice medical benefits, not indemnity benefits.
Any questions regarding this case can be addressed to Mike Bliley, Esquire, at (571) 464-0435 or firstname.lastname@example.org.