Virginia Officer’s Battle to Receive Compensation for Injuries Shows System’s Faults

By Peter DePaolis

A Virginia police officer suffered an injury while transporting a handcuffed man down a flight of stairs. The man slipped, and the officer grabbed the man’s arm to keep him from falling. The officer immediately felt a sharp pain in his back and groin. Doctors eventually diagnosed him as having a hernia and ruptured disc. Since the injury, he has had three surgeries and is still in pain. He has permanent nerve damage that suddenly causes his right foot to become numb.

The officer has had trouble receiving workers’ compensation benefits for him and his family. He and his wife sold their home and used up their life savings to battle the city over his injury claim. A private company administers the city’s injury claims, and initially the company denied his request for worker’s compensation. It was considered unrelated to the incident described above.

Making matters worse, the police department dismissed the officer, who had been the sole wage earner in his family of four. In addition to the surgeries mentioned, the officer has had a dozen CT scans and MRIs, which range in cost from several hundred to several thousand dollars each time. Prescriptions for painkillers and medications are an additional burden on the family. Altogether, the officer estimates that the city owes him about $24,000, as well as costs for future medical expenses.

Workers’ compensation claims may result in legal battles to obtain benefits and reimbursements to which an injured worker is entitled. People injured on the job should consider consulting a Virginia workers compensation attorney to learn how the system works. For more information on workers’ compensation and how claims proceed, contact Julie H. Heiden, a Northern Virginia workers comp lawyer, at Koonz, McKenney, Johnson & DePaolis L.L.P.

About the Author
Peter DePaolis joined the firm in 1980 and has since represented a large number of individuals involved in automobile collisions, truck accidents, bus crashes, defective products, and medical malpractice cases. A significant portion of Mr. DePaolis’ practice is devoted to working on behalf of people suffering from asbestosis, mesothelioma, and other asbestos-related cancers. He has led his firm’s fight against the asbestos industry and has recovered over $30 million in damages for asbestos victims and their families.