The Virginia Workers' Compensation Act Requires Employers to Carry Insurance

Although the federal government administers its own workers’ compensation benefits, each state is responsible for enacting state laws governing workers’ compensation benefits for injured workers. In the Commonwealth of Virginia, the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission is responsible for administering benefits to workers injured during the course of employment while working for employers within the Commonwealth.

In 1918, the Virginia General Assembly first enacted the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Act, modeling it after the workers’ compensation laws passed by the Indiana Legislature. According to the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Act codified in Title 65.2 of the Code of Virginia, in exchange for a release of liability for future personal injury claims, employees may receive medical and monetary compensation benefits from their employers if they were injured during the course of their work for them.

Known as a “no-fault” recovery system, injured workers are not required to determine or establish fault in order to receive workers’ compensation benefits. Because the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Act requires employers to compensate their employees for most on-the-job injuries, the system allows workers to count on their employers for coverage without having to first establish fault. Where personal injury lawsuits may take years to resolve, a workers’ compensation claim does not.

The Virginia Workers’ Compensation Act require from the Commonwealth’s employers to comply with their statutory requirements to carry workers’ compensation coverage for all of their employees. Generally, an employer with at least three regular employees, including any part-time employees must purchase insurance coverage. However, all coalmine employers must purchase insurance coverage, regardless of the number of employees they hire. Virginia law also requires that employers post notification of their coverage in areas easily visible and accessible to their employees. Failure to provide coverage carries serious penalties for employers. To understand your responsibilities to purchase insurance as an employer, you can access the “Employer Guide to Virginia Workers’ Compensation” published by the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission by clicking here.

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