Workers Compensation in Virginia

Posted December 6th, 2018 by Jason Metz

Virginia requires all businesses to have workers comp for employees, with only a few exceptions.

Workers comp insurance generally pays some lost earnings and the medical bills for an employee who's injured while doing a job-related task. The types of injuries that workers comp covers typically ranges from breathing problem to foot joint pain to broken bones.

Virginia workers compensation law defines many details on the limits of workers comp payments, who must be covered and who can be exempt from coverage. Below are many of the specifics contained in the workers comp law in Virginia. The Virginia Workers' Compensation Commission also has a page with helpful information for employers.

Who must be covered by Virginia workers compensation?

Can any employees opt out of Virginia workers compensation with a waiver?

Yes - corporate officers can.

Is self-insurance for workers comp allowed in Virginia?

Yes, for individual employers, groups of employers and political subdivisions. Political subdivisions in Virginia are typically the state or a city, county, special district, school district or public agency.

By self-insuring, a business assumes responsibility for paying their own workers comp claims. A self-insured company typically hires a claims service company to handle claims administration and other services.

Are there exclusions for:

Small employers? Yes, for employers who employ fewer than three workers.

Agricultural employers? Yes, employees of farms and horticultural laborers are excluded from coverage unless the employer regularly has more than three full-time employees in service.

Domestic employers? Yes, domestic servants are excluded from coverage when employed by the homeowner or household.

Independent contractors? Yes.

Casual employees? Yes.

Volunteers? No.

Professional athletes? No.

Virginia workers comp medical benefits

Is there a Virginia workers comp fee schedule?


Fee schedules define payments for surgery, radiology, hospital services, chiropractic care, ambulance service, prescription drugs and other medical services for an injured worker.

Are there limits on medical treatment?

Yes, reasonable, necessary and causally related to the work injury.

Who makes the initial choice of treating physician?

The employee, from a panel of physicians provided by the employer; if either party wants to change treating physicians and there is no agreement, the Virginia Workers' Compensation Commission can decide.

Disability payments for workers compensation insurance in Virginia

Workers comp typically pays an employee a portion of their salary if they are unable to work because of a job-related injury. State law outlines limits on the disability length and amount, based on both permanent and temporary disability.


How are temporary total disability (TTD) payments calculated?

66 2/3% of the employee's pre-injury wage, subject to a minimum and maximum.

Weekly minimum: $243.75

Weekly maximum: $975

Maximum length of TDD benefits: 500 weeks.

How are permanent total disability (PTD) payments calculated?

66 ⅔% of the employee's wage, subject to a minimum and maximum.

Weekly minimum: $243.75

Weekly maximum: $975

Are there cost of living increases for PTD payments? Yes, changes each Oct. 1 based on the average consumer price index (CPI) for all items.

Maximum length of PTD benefits: Lifetime.

How are permanent partial disability (PPD) payments calculated?

66 ⅔% of the employee's average weekly wage, subject to a minimum and maximum.

Weekly minimum: $243.75

Weekly maximum: $975

Fatality benefits under Virginia workers compensation law

Maximum burial benefit: $10,000

Dependency benefits, weekly minimum / maximum: $243.75 / $975

When do children's dependency benefits end? At age 18; age 23 if the child is a student; benefits can continue if child is disabled.

Other injuries covered by Virginia workers compensation

Mental stress with no physical injury? Yes.

Cumulative trauma (such as injuries caused by repeated exposure or repetitive motion)? Only cumulative hearing loss and carpal tunnel are covered as "ordinary diseases of life" and subject to higher "clear and convincing" evidentiary standards as opposed to the "preponderance of the evidence" standard.

Occupational hearing loss? It is covered upon clear and convincing evidence as an "ordinary disease of life under Virginia code section 65.2-401.

Disfigurement? Yes.

Source: Workers Compensation Research Institute, May 2016 report