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Virginia Court of Appeals Reminds Workers’ Compensation Claimants that the Commission’s Role is Limited

August 5, 2020

The Virginia Court of Appeals recently heard an appeal from a Workers’ Compensation Commission ruling regarding the medical necessity of an employee’s requested “running blade.”  The claimant’s doctors testified that the blade would improve the claimant’s quality of life and would aid the claimant in athletic activities.  The employer’s experts testified that the blade was not medically necessary.  The Commission’s ruling that the employer was not required to provide the blade was affirmed by the Court of Appeals.  In affirming, the appellate court noted that the purpose of the commission is not to restore the injured employee to his full pre-injury state.  Rather, commission’s purpose is to compensate a claimant for injuries that “either actually or presumptively produce disability and thereby presumably affect earning power.”  The appellate court noted that empathy does not allow it to expand legislative parameters.