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Workers' Compensation Act Overview

The Virginia Workers' Compensation Act ("the Act") was enacted on March 21, 1918, and became effective on January 1, 1919. The Act was originally modeled on Indiana's statute. Virginia was the thirty-seventh state to pass a workers' compensation law.

The Act provides a no-fault remedy for workers who are injured in their employment. "No-fault" simply means that the injured worker does not have to prove that their work injury was someone else's fault in order to receive workers' compensation benefits for an on-the-job injury. However, the worker must establish the conditions for compensability set out in the Act before he or she can recover benefits.

When compensability of a work-related injury is established, the employer becomes liable for payment of the benefits provided in the Act. Generally, employers secure this liability by purchasing workers' compensation liability insurance. In cases where the employer has this insurance, benefits are generally paid by the insurance company directly to the injured worker. Today, over three million workers, approximately 98 percent of Virginia's workforce, are covered by workers' compensation insurance.

The Act has been amended numerous times since its enactment. These statutory changes, together with changes in the prevailing social and economic milieu, have required modifications to the Commission and its operations throughout the decades.

From its inception, the Act was intended to provide a comprehensive benefit structure for injured employees. It provides wage loss benefits as well as reimbursement for medical expenses related to the compensable injury. The Virginia Workers' Compensation Commission administers the provisions of the Act generally, and acts as an adjudicator where a dispute arises between the parties as to workers' rights or employers' obligations.

The text of the entire Virginia Workers' Compensation Act is available from this site. Follow the links in the site to Title 65.2 of the Code of Virginia, and then to the specific section you are trying to find.

Commonwealth of Virginia | Governor