In Virginia, any time you have been injured on the job and are under light duty restrictions from your doctor (whether working or not) and you are receiving less pay than you made prior to your injury, you may need to job hunt.
The Virginia workers’ compensation system operates under Award Orders; i.e. orders entered by the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission stating that your case is covered and that you are entitled to certain benefits (link to other blog). The benefits set forth in the order should include loss wage benefits. If you have had an accident and have light duty restrictions but have no order from the commission saying you are entitled to weekly compensation checks in some fashion, you need to job hunt.
The Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission calls it “the duty to market your residual capacity to work.” Any time you are in this scenario, even if you are getting a compensation check by the carrier but do not have an order from the Workers’ Compensation Commission saying you are entitled to that check, you still need to job hunt. The Commission requires you to apply for at least 5 jobs every week and to keep records of your own job hunting efforts. These job applications need to be for light duty work that fits within the restrictions that the doctor has given you; i.e. if you are a police officer before the accident and are injured on the job and cannot work as a police officer now, you should not be applying for police officer jobs. You need to apply for light duty work within the restrictions that the doctor has given you. You need to do this even if receiving a compensation check. If you don’t have an order of the commission saying you are entitled to that check, the carrier may pay you for some time period then come back later and say that they paid you when they didn’t need to because you did not market your residual capacity at work, i.e. you weren’t job hunting, and that they are now entitled to a credit against any future benefits.
If you have questions about these issues or anything else related to your workers’ compensation case, please give us a call at (804) 294-2966.