Claimant, an undocumented worker from Mexico, worked as an unskilled construction laborer. He fell from a floor joist onto a concrete floor resulting in a traumatic brain injury. He was hospitalized at the University of Virginia Medical Center in Charlottesville and later moved to Sheltering Arms Hospital in Midlothian. The claim was denied. His employer and insurance company argued that he was an independent contractor, not an employee, and was therefore not covered under Virginia Worker’s Compensation law. .
A hearing before Deputy Commissioner Culbreth in Harrisonburg resulted in a finding that the claimant was in fact an employee and awarded him temporary total benefits and medical benefits. The employer and insurance company appealed the decision to the Worker’s Compensation Commission and the claim was settled for $725,000 before the appeal was heard.