Understanding workers’ compensation laws as a Virginia business owner

Virginia’s Workers’ Compensation Act requires employers to carry workers’ compensation insurance so that employees who are injured on the job are able to obtain medical care and compensation. Business owners are also protected by the law because it protects employers from being sued by employees.

What Businesses Are Required to Have Workers’ Compensation Insurance?

Workers' Compensation

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Most, not all, businesses must have workers’ compensation insurance. A business that employs more than two employees, whether part-time or full-time, will be required to have workers’ compensation insurance.

Subcontractors are included in this limit.

Rules Protecting Employees

Employees may still be able to receive compensation even if the employer doesn’t have insurance if the employer was required by law to have insurance. Under state law, employers cannot have employees waive their right to insurance, and there are no exceptions made under the law.

Employees are further protected from retaliation for filing a claim.

“Filing for this compensation should not be viewed negatively by management. In fact, it is illegal for the employer to harass you about a workers’ compensation claim, or to fire you due to the injury,” claims David Boehrer Law Firm.

Employees must prove that the injuries occurred during the course of employment or when performing an activity for the employer.

Virginia laws require the following:

  • Injuries occur during a work-related function
  • Injuries are caused by a work activity
  • Injuries must have happened suddenly

If the injury occurred due to the employee’s misconduct or for activities outside of the scope of work, the injury will not be covered by insurance. Repetitive trauma, such as carpal tunnel syndrome, would not be covered under workers’ comp.

Employer Obligations

As an employer, it is your obligation to file what is known as the “First Report of Injury,” or FROI. Virginia’s Workers’ Compensation Commission requires that all employers file the FROI within 10 days of knowledge of the accident or injury occurring.

Employers will be required to pay a compensation that is equal to 66.67% of the worker’s average salary.

Compensation cannot exceed 500 weeks unless the employee suffers from:

  • Permanent disability
  • Total incapacity
  • Death from coal worker’s pneumoconiosis

Employers must take every injury report seriously, and it’s illegal to hold the injury or claim against your employee.

Workers’ compensation is just one form of insurance that a Virginia business is required to obtain. If you’re the sole worker in the business, you’ll be exempt from having to take out this form of insurance and many other insurances.



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