Is this Offer from State Workmans Comp Fair?

by Brian
(Moneta, VA)

I was working for the city government in Virginia. While making an emergency water repair I was run over by a drunk driver. I lost 18% of the use of my left arm due to the accident.

Workmans compensation wants to give me $18,000 for the 18% loss of use of my arm. This seems very low to me. What do you think?

Visitor Question:
Disclaimer: Information provided in our response is NOT formal legal advice. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Under no circumstances should the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site be relied upon when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Our response does NOT create an attorney-client relationship. Always get a formal case review from a licensed attorney in your area.

ANSWER for "Is this Offer from State Workmans Comp Fair?":


The Virginia State Disability Law follows Federal Law; specifically the Federal Employee Compensation Act (FECA). Virginia has its own “schedule of benefits”. The benefits are broken down into about 20 different body parts and how many weeks of benefits may be paid for each of those body parts.

As a general rule, loss or loss of use of a limb or body part is determined by your doctor once you've reached permanent status. That's the point in your recovery where it's likely you'll get no better or no worse. If you have a permanent disability, your doctor will give it a rating or percentage, like "25 percent loss of use," or in your case, “18%”.

Once that's completed, your employer's doctor, or more realistically, a doctor hired by your employer's insurance carrier, looks at your case and decides whether or not he agrees with your doctor's opinion. This often is a complicated and drawn-out battle. It's very common for the doctors to disagree about the severity of a loss.

From the facts you present we are unable to determine whether your award is appropriate. You would have to take your salary, multiply it by 18% and extrapolate that by the annual rate allowed.

The whole process of getting compensation for a scheduled percentage of permamnent loss of an arm is complicated. It's always a good idea to talk to a Skilled and Experienced Workmans Compensation Attorney. She will review the schedules and formula and apply it to your specific case.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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