I worked for the sheriff’s office. I was injured during ground fighting that we had not been trained for. I injured my shoulder which required surgery. It was supposed to be a simple surgery but now I have a 7% loss. I was forced to retire. I am now on work comp but I am wondering if I can settle. The job market out here is tough and I am thinking that now I need to continue my education because an A.A.S is not enough. I took on a part time job because they said having a job makes it easier to get another one but I really don’t like the job at all and I am not sure they will allow me to leave the position. So my question is: can I settle, which will allow me to go back to school full time?

Settlements are entirely voluntary. Both sides have to agree to a settlement and if one side doesn’t want to settle, there is no settlement. They can’t make you settle for $1 and you can’t make them settle for a million dollars. Neither can the Commission force either side to settle. On top of that, especially under the current economic environment, settling state, county and municipality cases can be difficult as often their budgets do not provide for settlements. Yet some counties do settle cases. You are entitled to the money for your permanent partial disability benefits (for the7% loss of your arm). As for leaving the job you have now, that could present some serious problems. If the part-time light duty job has been found for you by the insurer for the county, if you just quit, you will loose your lost wage comp benefits .Virginia Workers Compensation does provide for vocational rehabilitation. You can request retraining for a new occupation from the Workers’ comp insurance carrier and if they refuse, request a hearing with a Deputy Commissioner. You do have to show job placement without retraining has not worked and the proposed retraining is a 1-2 year technical course which will lead to a job. You can perhaps talk to the Virginia Department of Rehabilitation about an evaluation and a recommendation.

Michele Lewane

Injured Workers Lawfirm

7826 Shrader Road

Richmond, Virginia 23294

Phone: (804) 755-7755

Fax: (804) 612-1724