A Carluzzo Rochkind & Smith note: Following is an article by Virginia Lawyers Weekly. We did not handle this case, but for more than 20 years our workers’ compensation lawyers in Manassas have helped clients in Prince William County, Fairfax County, Woodbridge, and throughout Northern Virginia. If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment, please contact our law firm at (703) 361-0776.
Wage loss unrelated to work injury
By Virginia Lawyers Weekly – 11/12/2022
Where the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission awarded the claimant temporary total disability benefits, this was error because the record shows his wage loss was unrelated to his work injury.
“The Commonwealth argues that the Commission erred as a matter of law when it awarded temporary total disability benefits to Blot beginning February 11, 2021, because ‘no evidence causally related [his] wage loss to the work accident.’ … We agree. …
“[T]he record does not support the Commission’s conclusion that Blot’s wage loss was causally related to his partial incapacity. After Blot sustained his compensable injury in December 2019, he continued to work as a sales associate with no restrictions for approximately three months.
“Moreover, he unequivocally testified that his decision to stop working in March 2020 was not because of his injury; rather, his cardiologist instructed him to stop working because of concerns about COVID-19. …
“In addition, when he returned to work in February 2021, he had been replaced and the store’s system had been updated. Accordingly, although he worked fewer hours each week, Blot himself testified that his reduced hours were attributable to scheduling issues and the need to be retrained, not his knee injury.
“To be sure, Dr. Hospodar returned Blot to work on ‘light duty’; but his note did not contain any specific restrictions, and no evidence demonstrated that an alleged squatting restriction limited his wages. …
“Blot’s unequivocal testimony affirmatively establishes that his wage loss was not caused by his partial incapacity but by his decision to stop working during the pandemic and attempt to reclaim his same job nearly a year later after he had been replaced and his employer had updated its system.
“Thus, he would have suffered the same reduction in his earnings irrespective of his partial disability. Accordingly, Blot failed to demonstrate that his wage loss was causally related to his injury and the Commission erred in awarding Blot temporary total disability benefits[.]”
Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority v. Blot, Record No. 1395-21-2, Sept. 6, 2022, 2022. CAV (Clemens; Causey dissenting) From the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Comm’n. Scott John Fitzgerald, Jason S. Miyares, Steven G. Popps, Marshall H. Ross, Jacqueline C. Hedblom for appellant. William G. Sweeney, Jr. for appellee. VLW 022-7-367, 13 pp.
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