Lynchburg, VA asked in Education Law, Workers' Compensation and Employment Discrimination for Virginia

Q: PT told my wife her severe vertigo is related to multiple concussions she received from students at school, which were

claimed along with other hip, arm, leg, etc injuries (multiple incidents). She's a special education teacher in a public school system. She was already on sick leave about two weeks for an unrelated illness (not WC) when the vertigo sent us to the ER, about six weeks ago. During a recent physical therapy session for the vertigo, which we are paying for not WC, her PT said this was related to the concussions.

What is the procedure for reinstating a claim / filing a change of condition, or another option? The school system is pressuring her to resign for the 2018-19 session, which she isn't going to do since she wants to return to work, and there is no leave of absence option. Her NEA union leader advises her against meeting with anyone from human resources. She gets (2) free 30-minute attorney consultations through an NEA benefit. Do we wait and see what the school's reaction is to the WC "condition change" before getting counsel outside of the NEA referrals?

1 Lawyer Answer
Jerry Lutkenhaus
Jerry Lutkenhaus
  • Richmond, VA
  • Licensed in Virginia

A: If she has a disability due to a work-related injury, she first needs to have notified her employer of the accident giving rise to this disability within thirty (30) days of the accident. Then, she needs to have filed a claim with the Virginia Workers' Compensation Commission for the accident within two (2) years of the date of the accident. You indicated these were multiple incidents over a period of time. Also, a physical therapist is not a doctor. Usually, a concussion is treated by a neurologist. If she has not done so, she needs to see a neurologist for this concussion. If she has seen a neurologist before, then she should present the physical therapist statement about the vertigo to the neurologist to see if he agrees this was caused by a concussion she suffered in a work accident. If she has a prior award for the concussion, then she has two (2) years from the date of the last time she was paid compensation under the concussion award to file a change of condition claim to claim a new period of disability due to his concussion caused vertigo. You may be well-advised to seek an experience workers compensation lawyer for this problem.

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