Repetitive Motion Injuries in Virginia May Soon Be Compensable

Repetitive Motion Injuries in Virginia May Soon Be Compensable
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Virginia has the distinction of being the only state in the nation in which repetitive motion injuries are not recognized as compensable workplace injuries. Workers' compensation claims such as carpal tunnel syndrome and spinal disc conditions that other states routinely accept as compensable are treated as ordinary diseases of life in Virginia. This legislation has allowed employers to benefit from lower claims costs and lower costs for their workers' compensation insurance. However, this may soon be changing.

New Legislation

On January 13, 2021, the Virginia House of Delegates introduced H.B. 2228. It has since been sent to a House Labor and Commerce subcommittee for recommendation. H.B. 2228 would expand the definition of occupational disease to include "injuries from conditions resulting from repetitive and sustained physical stressors, including repetitive and sustained motions, exertions, posture stress, contact stresses, vibration or noise."

Workers' Compensation coverage would "not require that the injuries occurred over a particular period, provided such a period can be reasonably identified and documented and further provided that the employment is shown to have primarily caused the injury, considering all causes." The bill defines "primarily" here as meaning more than 50% of the cause of the injury.

In March 2020, the Virginia Senate passed legislation to direct the state's Workers’ Compensation Commission to examine the implications of covering repetitive motion injuries in the state's workers' compensation system. H.B. 617, which set the stage for the current legislation.

Questions?

RCM&D will monitor the progress of H.B. 2228 as it works its way through the Virginia Senate and provides updates to our Virginia clients who will be impacted by this legislation.

Talk to your trusted advisor today with any additional questions regarding H.B. 2228.