The Commission has issued an updated 30-Day Order form, and began using it Friday, August 26, 2022. The 30-Day Order was created by statute in 2020 with the enactment of Va. Code §65.2-601.2 that requires that the Commission send an Order to the employer upon the filing of an initial claim for benefits, and requires that the Employer respond to that Order within 30 days, or face statutory fines. The Commission has made enforcement of this statute a point of emphasis since §65.2-601.2 went in to effect in July, 2020.

Beginning August 26, 2022, the 30-Day Order form has two small but significant changes to its wording. First, the cover pages now includes language designed to put the Employer on notice that they should make sure that their insurance carrier or claims administrator is making a timely response to the form. It now includes the sentence “The employer should confirm with its insurance carrier or claims administrator that they will respond to this order on their behalf.”

The Order itself now contains an additional sentence regarding any agreements to entry of a medical award to injuries for specific body parts. This appears to be in response to recent decisions on the issue of res judicata and to the enactment of a new res judicata statute §65.2-706.2 last year. The new language should serve as a caution to employers and insurers that making an agreement does not have any res judicata effect as to the extent of an injury unless the parties expressly agree that the agreement settles as a final matter the extent of the claimant’s injuries. The response that indicates agreement “to a medical award for injuries to the following body parts ______” now contains the following sentence in parentheses “(This award may not address all injuries alleged. Interested parties may request a hearing to address the scope of the injuries claimed.”)

These changes should serve to remind employers both of the importance of making prompt response to 30-day Order and of being mindful to take affirmative steps to ensure finality when entering into agreements regarding some but not all body parts claimed.

Please click here to view an example of a 30 Day Order


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