Fifty-nine-year-old James Bea was electrocuted while working on a water main break in Arlington, Virginia, Bea had worked for the county for 24 years. Another worker was also injured and taken to a burn unit in critical condition.
Apparently the workers came into contact with a power line while removing lighting at a work site.
This is a good chance to discuss an odd facet of Virginia Workers’ Compensation law. If a worker is found dead at the scene of an accident at work then the accident is presumed to be work-related. But if the worker lives for even a short time after the accident then death benefits can be denied unless there is some evidence proving how the accident happened.
This makes it difficult or sometimes impossible to prove how the work accident occurred because the best witness is dead or unconscious.
There have been several times where the Virginia Worker’s Compensation Commission has denied death benefits saying that the burden of proof lies upon the person making the claim.
Virginia State Senator Richard Stuart has introduced a bill to change this injustice but it was contested by the business lobby and failed to pass. Hopefully this year it will be changed and Virginia can become a slightly more just place to live and work.
If your loved one has been killed at work then you need to hire a good Virginia Worker’s Compensation Lawyer. Richmond-based work comp Attorney Michele Lewane specializes in Work Comp law across Virginia and has helped thousands of injured workers through the complicated process of making a work comp claim in Virginia.
Call 804-755-7755 or 1-800-868-1270 for the help you need.