New Virginia Guidelines Aid Partially Disabled Workers

The Virginia Workers' Compensation Commission posted guidelines recently to help partially disabled workers find suiable light-duty jobs. The guidelines consist of seven items, starting with "good faith search for work" and ending with "attempt to maximize earnings," which says an employee who finds and accepts a job that pays substantially less than his or her pre-injury job should continue looking for a higher-paying job.

The commission administers the Virginia Workers' Compensation Act; the Criminal Injuries Compensation fund, which pays benefits to crime victims; and the Birth-Related Neurological Injury program, which pays benefits to children with certain birth defects. In deciding whether a partially disabled worker has made a reasonable effort to find suitable light duty work, the commission considers factors such as the nature and extent of disability; the employee's age, training, and education; the availability of jobs in the area that are suitable for the employee; and the nature and extent of the job search that employee has made.

If a worker hasn't found a job fitting his particular skills or training within a reasonable time, the employee must broaden his search beyond that field, according to the guidelines.

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