Groundbreaking Workers’ Compensation Case in Virginia
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In the case of Daniel Roman v. Ondeo Degremont, the Virginia Court of Appeals ruled for the first time that the insurance carrier would be penalized 20% for failing to pay the attorney's fee in a timely manner and that the penalty would be paid to Mr. Roman.
The Virginia Code provides a 20% penalty for any amount that is owed to the injured worker and is not paid within 14 days of the day it is due. In the Daniel Roman case, Chris Booberg successfully represented Mr. Roman before the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission and obtained benefits for him. Once the benefits were awarded by the Commission, the insurance company paid the benefits that were due to Mr. Roman. However, the Insurance Company delayed the payment of the attorney’s fee that was awarded by the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission.
The insurance company believed that the attorney’s fee was not subject to the penalty provision because the penalty provision only applies to amounts to be paid to the injured worker. We appealed to the Virginia Court of Appeals. We argued that because the Workers’ Compensation Commission had ordered that the fee be paid from Mr. Roman's past due benefits, the attorney’s fee was an amount to be paid to the injured worker and was therefore subject to the penalty provision. As a result, the 20% penalty should be paid to Mr. Roman. The Court of Appeals agreed and the insurance company was forced to pay the attorney’s fee to us and a penalty of 20% of that fee to Mr. Roman.