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Comp bills aim to penalize late payments, define repetitive stress injuries


Bills introduced in Virginia on Tuesday would create penalties for workers compensation insurers who fail to make timely payments to injured workers and define what would be considered a repetitive stress occupational injury.

H.B. 1966 states that if any payment is not paid within two weeks after it becomes due, there would be added to such unpaid compensation an amount equal to 20% of the payment due “unless the (Workers’ Compensation) Commission finds that any required payment has been made as promptly as practicable and …  there is good cause outside the control of the employer for the delay or … in the case of a self-insured employer, the employer has issued the required payment to the employee as a part of the next regular payroll after the payment becomes due.”

The bill also proposes that after the first occurrence of a failure to pay within two weeks after it becomes due there shall be added to each such unpaid compensation, in addition to the 20% penalty, fines of $100 multiplied by each occurrence, up to $500 for a fifth and any subsequent failures to pay.

H.B. 1763 proposes that the state include in its occupational disease language “injuries or diseases from conditions resulting from repetitive and sustained physical stressors, including repetitive and sustained motions, exertions, posture stresses, contact stresses, vibrations, or noises.”

The bill states that such coverage does not require that the injuries or diseases occur over a particular time period, “provided that such time period can be reasonably identified.”