You may qualify for permanent total disability under Virginia workers’ compensation if your work-related injuries prevent you from returning to substantial gainful employment. Section 65.2-500(D) of the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Act states that weekly compensation on account of total and permanent incapacity will continue for the injured employee’s lifetime without limit to the total amount of compensation received. Permanent total disability cases are almost always contested by insurance companies, even more so than other claims for workers’ compensation benefits. You should call a Virginia workers compensation lawyer to help you qualify.
Proving Entitlement To Permanent Total Disability Benefits In Virginia
Virginia Code Section 65.2-503(C) covers benefits for permanent and total incapacity. Under this code section, an injured worker may receive permanent total disability benefits when there is:
- Loss of both hands, both arms, both feet, both legs, both eyes, or any two of these body parts in the same work accident;
- Injury that results in total paralysis, as determined by the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission on the medical evidence before it; or,
- An injury to the brain that is traumatic and severe enough to render the worker permanently unemployable in gainful employment.
Let’s break down the statute.
If your claim for permanent total disability benefits is based on loss of use of two or more body parts, then you must have suffered the injuries in the same work-related accident. You cannot “stack” injuries from two or more work-related accidents to qualify for permanent total disability benefits in Virginia.
Next, you do not have to have total loss of use of the body part to qualify for permanent total disability benefits under the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Act. A medical rating of the injured employee’s disability is necessary. As a general rule you need the medical rating to show at least 50% loss of use in two or more body parts in the same work accident to qualify for benefits. There are, however, exceptions. For example, the Commission found 100% disability to the left leg and 15% disability to the right leg, along with an inability to work, to be permanent and total disability. Georgia-Pacific Corp v. Dancy, 255 Va. 248 (1998).
Permanent total disability benefits are not paid until the injured worker has received the total maximum allowable period of 500 weeks of temporary total disability benefits and temporary partial disability benefits.
Hire A Virginia Workers Compensation Attorney To Help Your Claim For Permanent Total Disability Benefits
Workers compensation claims for permanent total disability benefits are heavily disputed by insurance companies because a successful claim results in lifetime compensation payments and lifetime medical benefits. Contact experienced workers’ compensation attorney Corey Pollard, author of the Virginia Workers Compensation Guide, for help qualifying for permanent total disability compensation or obtaining a workers compensation settlement.