19 Jan Virginia: Workers’ Compensation Benefits – a Lawyer’s Client
Many Virginians qualify for Workers’ Compensation when killed or injured on-the-job by a third-party wrongdoer. But under Virginia law, victims of on-the-job wrongful death, vehicle accidents, product liability, and other personal injury still are entitled – and need – to be compensated fully by the wrongdoer for their lost wages, medical expenses, disability and/or death.
Many, if not most, jurors are unaware that on-the-job victims awarded compensation at trial are liable for reimbursement of all Workers’ Compensation benefits they have received, including all wage, medical, disability and/or death payments. Specifically, employers by law have a lien against any jury awards to be repaid in full in preference and priority to all victims of wrongful death, vehicle accidents, product liability, and other personal injury.
Such a lien exists regardless whether the jury actually included anything in its award for the on-the-job victim’s wages, medicals, disability and/or death. Hence on-the-job victims of wrongful death, vehicle accidents, product liability, and other personal injury will be under-compensated grossly if a jury fails to award for wages, medicals, disability and/or death on the assumption that there is Workers’ Compensation or otherwise.