Virginia Workers’ Compensation Lawyers
An American worker spends a minimum of 2,080 hours each year working on behalf of their employer. Many workers will work an entire career without sustaining an injury, although a growing number have already been injured during their work lives. According to Virginia law, injured workers can receive compensation for their injuries; according to insurer greed, that money won’t be given easily.
For 25 years, the Virginia workers’ comp attorneys at CHASENBOSCOLO have battled insurer greed and the many injustices that come with workers’ compensation denials. Because big-name insurance companies have the resources to fight claims, and they often do. This means the average Virginia worker will back down when the insurer scares them into submission.
Denied workers’ compensation benefits you’re rightfully owed? Don’t let the system beat you down – put us to work for you by calling (703) 538-1138 or reaching out to us online today.
What Is Workers’ Compensation?
Employers with two or more employees are required to carry insurance to protect employees in the event they’re injured performing duties they’re approved to perform at work. The insurance policy itself provides dual protection; employers are shielded from lawsuits brought on by employees, and employees are guaranteed cash and medical benefits if they’re injured at work.
In order for claims to be brought, the employee must have:
- Been performing an activity related to work;
- Been injured at a sudden, specific time; or
- Must have been during regular work hours or during an approved time.
Employee misconduct is not compensable under Virginia law, nor is work performed outside of what an employer had previously approved. Gradual injuries or those traumatic injuries induced by repetitive motion are generally not covered, either.
Common Workplace Injuries
Employees may wish to pursue workers’ compensation benefits in any work-related accident, including:
- Machine operation injuries due to maintenance department’s lack of proper lockout procedures;
- Slip and fall on foreign substance not properly barricaded or marked as hazardous;
- Heat or cold burns from chemicals not properly labeled;
- Forklift accidents; and
- Workplace fires or explosions
There are numerous injuries one could sustain, many which could put workers out of commission for months, even years.
Virginia’s Workers’ Compensation Types
Benefits available to injured workers include:
- Lifetime medical benefits. Payments for medical expenses incurred, including occupational diseases, will be given to injured persons to offset out-of-pocket costs related to transportation, prescriptions, and general healthcare needs.
- Wage replacement. Workers may receive full or partial wage loss payments for the duration of their injury; these benefits will terminate once the worker is medically cleared to return to work.
- Permanent total disability. Lifetime compensation for the loss of mobility, loss of limbs, paralysis or similarly debilitating injuries.
- Permanent partial disability. Partial payments for lung disease, partial hearing loss, injuries that caused partial mobility issues and the loss of one body part.
- Death benefits. These are payable to surviving children and spouses in the event the workplace injury was fatal.
Other forms of compensation, such as mileage reimbursement, could be available to qualifying applicants.
Workers’ Compensation Death Benefits
In Virginia, loved ones of deceased workers may qualify for death benefits under Virginia Code Section 65.2-512. To qualify for benefits, the survivor must be:
- Spouse that was still attached by marriage at the time of the worker’s death;
- A representative of the estate if the worker had one;
- A child under 23 if enrolled in school full-time;
- Any individual who had dependence upon the worker who died, including children under 18 and parents.
Much like regular workers’ compensation benefits, an application for benefits is necessary. The complex nature of the application process compels many survivors to hire an attorney.
If approved, dependents can receive up to 500 weeks of benefits at 66.7% of the worker’s wages if full dependence is proven. Death benefits can be filed up to nine (9) years after an accident or diagnosis of an occupational disease as defined by Virginia Code.
Workers’ Compensation Claim Process in Virginia
To avoid delays in your workers’ compensation claim, follow these steps to assure all bases are covered:
- As soon as the injury has taken place, report the incident to an immediate supervisor. In Virginia, you have thirty (30) days to complete this initial step. If you’re unconscious or are taken immediately to the emergency room, the incident is already known.
- Photograph everything in sight, including your injury. Do this before removing yourself from the scene.
- Seek medical treatment immediately. This step would be necessary after reporting the accident, but unnecessary if you’ve been taken to the hospital already. Note that medical treatment can be controlled by the insurer and employer in non-emergency situations.
- Let the medical professional know you were hurt at work. Do not listen to an employer who requests this information be kept confidential; get your statement documented by the doctor.
- If you’ve been treated at the hospital but are waiting for release, ask for paper and pen. Write down the approximate date, time and location of injury. Document what you were doing, how you were doing it, and what happened to cause your injury.
- Once released from the hospital, fill out your accident report and let every worker you know what happened. If any of them witnessed your accident, note their name and any identifying information. Turn your report into the appropriate office.
- Begin the process of filing your workers’ compensation claim. These documents are available online, or can be requested from your employer. If the employer refuses to give you the forms, you could retain an attorney to begin the process.
Once you’ve begun the workers’ compensation process, an employer cannot retaliate against you. They cannot make your injury the sole basis for terminating employment, either. Document any interaction between yourself and the employer up until determination of approval or denial is made by the Workers’ Compensation Commission in Richmond, Virginia.
How to Handle Workers’ Compensation Appeals
So, you’ve applied for benefits but received a denial. Does this mean you’ll never receive assistance? No! In fact, there are options available to workers who’ve been denied workers’ compensation in Virginia.
Here’s how a typical appeal could work:
- The commissioner who issued the decision retains authority over your claim for thirty (30) days. Use this period to file a Request for Reconsideration addressing reasons why the commissioner got things wrong.
- If the Reconsideration doesn’t seem appropriate, you can request a Full Commission review within thirty (30) days of the initial decision.
- Although written statements and evidence are used to render a new decision, Rule 3.4 does allow oral arguments to be made in defense of your claim.
- If for some reason the Full Commission review ends unfavorably, the next step is appealing to the Virginia Court of Appeals.
Once the Court of Appeals has made its determination, you’ll either receive benefits retroactive to your initial application, or will need to discuss your options with an attorney if one hasn’t been retained.
Frequently Asked Questions
Injured workers are given two (2) years to file their claim in order to qualify for compensation..
Employers must file notice with the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission within ten (10) days of the worker’s injury detailing the accident.
Virginia workers can draw up to 500 weeks of benefits unless the injury caused permanent disability or incapacitation.
Workers who are denied medical care should phone the Commission immediately; if they’ve retained counsel, notify the attorney handling the claim.
According to Virginia Code Title 65.2. Workers’ Compensation § 65.2-811. Liability of insurer, that assessment is correct. However, their liability starts when the injury is proven; if the worker cannot provide substantial information backing their claim, the policy doesn’t have to pay out. Technically, an insurance policy cannot be issued to an employer without the above-mentioned liability met by the insurer.
Employers who send workers out on deliveries or otherwise require them to drive are responsible for their care in the same manner they are on premises. If an employee is injured when another vehicle hits them or is injured while operating faulty equipment located on a delivery truck, a workers’ compensation claim can be filed.
Let an Experienced Workers’ Comp Lawyer from CHASENBOSCOLO Help You
Workers’ compensation is a benefit that injured employees should receive when they’ve performed duties according to regulations but were injured due to employer negligence. While these benefits are paid through the employer’s insurer, the system can make getting benefits much harder than necessary.
Put CHASENBOSCOLO to work on your workers’ compensation claim from the beginning, and your chances of approval will drastically increase. Besides, you’re injured and deserve to take this time to recuperate; why not let professionals handle your claim to make sure you get what you are owed?
Schedule your free workers’ compensation consultation today by phoning (703) 538-1138 today.