It seems simple enough: if you are hurt on-the-job in Virginia, you get workers’ compensation for your injuries.  Unfortunately, it is never that straightforward.  Take this recent case: a woman coming back from lunch slipped and fell right inside the garage of the building where her employer had offices.  Does this count as an on-the-job accident?

What constitutes “on the job” in Virginia?

The big question was: did this woman get hurt in the course of employment?  Does walking back from lunch into the parking garage count as an on-the-job injury for Virginia workers’ compensation purposes?  Not surprisingly, her employer, the American Trucking Association (ATA) said no, and did not want to give her the Virginia workers’ compensation medical benefits that she requested. 

Per the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Act, accidents and injuries that happen while an employee is going to or from work are usually not covered by workers’ comp.  However, this is not a hard and fast rule, and the courts have been flexible in interpreting it.  In reality, in order to get to work employees often have to drive or walk through work-like areas – in this case the garage of the building where the ATA offices were located. 

Extended premises and Virginia workers’ comp

This idea that an employee is covered by workers’ comp in areas near the workplace is called “extended premises”.  In this situation, the court asked where the woman was she was hurt.  They determined that she was on the property of the building where she worked, she was making her way across one of the commonly used paths to reach her office, and not only did she have a right to be in the area but her employer could reasonably expect her to be there during the workday.

For these reasons, the court found in her favor – she did deserve Virginia workers’ comp benefits for her injuries. 

Get help with your Virginia workers’ comp claim today

As you can see, there are many nuances in Virginia workers’ comp cases.  This is why it is in your best interest to hire a skilled Virginia workers’ comp attorney for your workplace accident case. 

Don’t take chances with your employer or their insurance company – protect your rights by contacting us today for a no cost, obligation consultation.

Carl N. Lauer
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Representing injured persons in Virginia. Workers' Compensation Claims.

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