Workers' Compensation in Virginia
Workman's comp in Virginia (also referred to as workers' comp, workers' compensation, and work compensation) is available in the form of lost wage payments and medical benefits to employees who have been injured on the job, or developed illnesses as a result of their work conditions or employment. Death benefits are available if the worker subsequently dies from the work-related injury or disease.
Claims for workers' comp should be filed with the Virginia Workers' Compensation Commission within the specified two year time frame.
Strongly consider hiring a Virginia work compensation lawyer if your workers' comp case seems like it is going to be problematic. Trouble can arise in cases where an employee's boss disputes the worker's claim, refuses to cooperate, is uninsured, or underinsured, or if your injury is permanent or serious. In addition, if a defective piece of equipment or product is involved, the manufacturer may be responsible for your injury and it may be necessary to file a separate lawsuit. Consult your workman's compensation lawyer when these situations arise or if you have any other questions pertaining to your claim.
Illnesses and Injuries covered under Virginia Workers' Compensation Law
Accidental Physical Injuries
- Virginia work-connected incidents (i.e.-slips, falls, trips) fall under work compensation insurance coverage.
- Injuries of the neck, spine, and/or back are not covered under Virginia Workman's Compensation insurance. Injuries that occur when the worker was under the influence of drugs and alcohol or those that are self-inflicted are similarly not covered.
- To be covered, the disease must be a result of the work performed by the employee or conditions in the workplace and may not be a disease of the neck, spine, or back. Covered diseases may include carpel tunnel syndrome and asbestosis.
- The distribution of death benefits to the family is possible in some cases.
The Virginia Worker's Comp Claims Process
- Notify Your Boss
- You must immediately tell your boss about your injury. Failing to notify your boss could result in your loss of work compensation benefits, or delay your receipt of the benefits.
- Get Medical Help Promptly
- File a claim with the Virginia Workers' Compensation Commission: You must file your claim with the Commission even if your employer also files a claim. This claim must be filed within two years from the date the physician diagnoses the occupational disease or from the date of the injury. If you do not file your claim within two years, you will be barred from recovery for your injury, thus losing medical benefits, and any income replacement benefits you would have been eligible to receive.
- A Virginia attorney who specializes in workers' comp law should be contacted to discuss your case if you have trouble getting benefits or if you need advice.
Benefits Received in Virginia Under the Workers' Compensation Program
Talk to a Virginia workman's compensation lawyer about the following options for compensation which you may be entitled to:
- Medical Treatment: An employee injured in a workplace injury, or who became ill from his work or conditions at his worksite is entitled to full medical benefits for life to treat the injury. Hospital, physician and other medical bills should be sent to the employer's insurance carrier.
- Funeral: Funeral expenses are included in death benefits and may not be greater than $10,000 and $1,000 for transportation.
- Death: The surviving spouse and underage children of an employee who dies from his job-connected injury are eligible for death benefits, to include wage loss benefits.
- Vocational Rehabilitation: Possible when a worker demonstrates that he is seeking light duty work in earnest. Retraining may be possible if the employee cannot go back to his original job.
- Income Benefits (there are several types of income benefits in Virginia)
- Temporary Total Disability Benefits (TTD for short): To sustain the employee while he is temporarily totally unable to work because of his illness or injury.
- Amount: Each week the worker is paid 2/3 of his average weekly wage up to a specified maximum. Supplemental income for cost of living increases is not permitted.
- Temporary Partial Disability Benefits (TPD for short): When an employee is not able to do his old job because of his injury, but is still able to do some other kinds of jobs.
- Permanent Total Disability Benefits (PTD for short): For certain injuries (if worker loses both arms, hands, feet, eyes, legs, or a combination of those parts, or is paralyzed or disabled) that are permanent, the worker will receive lifetime wage benefits.
- Amount: Weekly receipt of 2/3 of the employee's average weekly wage prior to his injury or illness.
- Permanent Partial Impairment Benefits (PPI for short): The injured worker has permanently lost the function of part of his body, but can still perform some work functions, though perhaps not his original job. The employee is eligible for these benefits if he has reached Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI).
- Amount: Benefits are for a certain number of weeks depending on the worker's percentage of loss.
Why Hire A Virginia Workers' Comp Lawyer?
There are several circumstances in which hiring a work compensation lawyer is recommended. These include when your injury is hard to prove, you are facing a lengthy period of disability, or when your claim is contested. Attorneys who specialize in workman's compensation law can help you navigate the procedures and policies of the workman's comp system, recommend a course of action, discuss your alternatives for compensation with you, and help you meet deadlines.
Hiring a Virginia workers' compensation attorney is further advised if there was a third party involved in your accident or injury, or if there was a defective product involved (and thus the possibility that the manufacturer may be held responsible).
Virginia Workers' Compensation Provisions
The Virginia Workers' Compensation statutes can be found in the Code of Virginia:
- Employers Subject To Workers' Compensation
- Workers' Compensation, Tit. 65.2, Chp.1, §§ 101-104.
- Covered Employees
- Workers' Compensation, Tit. 65.2, Chp.1 §§ 101-104.
- Workers' Compensation, Tit. 65.2, Chp.5 §§ 500-531.
- Claims Procedure
- Workers' Compensation, Tit. 65.2, Chp.6 §§600-607.