Workers Compensation Liens in Virginia Personal Injury Cases
Often a worker on the job gets injured by someone who is not a co-employee. This can happen in car accidents, on construction sites, at delivery locations, and in slip and fall cases where the worker is injured at a building not owned by the employer. In such cases, the workers compensation claim usually begins right away and then, when medical treatment is finished or leveled off, the personal injury case is settled or taken to trial.
At this point it must be remembered that the workers compensation insurance company is allowed to recover most of the money it paid to the injured worker or the health care providers from the proceeds of the personal injury case. In fact, the workers compensation insurance company has the right to file its own "personal injury" lawsuit to get its money back. Virginia Code Sections 65.2-309, 65.2-309.1, 65.2-311, and 65.2-313 are the laws dealing with these liens.
Most of the time however, the workers compensation insurance carrier will let the injured worker's personal injury lawyer handle the case. If the injured worker has not been informed by the lawyer of this legal right the the workers compensation insurance company has to a large portion of the settlement from the accident case, it can be a painful surprise. There are various tactics and techniques a lawyer who is experienced in both workers compensation and personal injury cases can use to reduce the amount the injured worker pays back, particularly if the same lawyer is handling both cases.