Fredericksburg Workers’ Compensation Lawyers
Understanding Virginia’s Workers’ Compensation Laws
If you’ve been injured on the job or diagnosed with a work-related medical condition, you could be eligible for workers’ compensation. In Virginia, all employers with at least three part- or full-time employees must carry workers’ compensation insurance. Workers’ compensation is a no-fault system (meaning you do not need to prove your employer or anyone else was negligent) that provides certain monetary benefits to employees who suffer a wide variety of work-related injuries, illnesses, and medical conditions.
At Reinhardt | Harper | Davis, we proudly represent honest, hardworking Virginians who have suffered serious injuries or medical conditions as a result of employment-related activities, duties, accidents, and tasks. Since 1980, our firm has been recognized as a leader in Virginia workers’ compensation law, and our attorneys have secured millions of dollars on behalf of their clients. Together, we bring more than a century of combined experience to our practice, as well as an unwavering commitment to helping our clients get back on their feet.
How Does Workers’ Compensation Work in Virginia
Under workers’ compensation, you may collect certain monetary benefits after a qualifying work-related injury or occupational disease. The purpose of these benefits is to cover the cost of medical care and provide temporary or permanent wage replacement when your injury or illness prevents you from working.
Depending on the specifics of your situation, you may qualify for the following types of workers’ compensation benefits:
- Medical Benefits: Workers’ compensation pays for all necessary and reasonable medical expenses related to your qualifying injury or illness. This includes costs associated with emergency transportation, hospitalization, surgery, physical therapy, rehabilitation, prescription medications, medical devices, prostheses, wheelchairs, medical equipment, follow-up visits, copays, and transportation to and from medical appointments.
- Temporary Total Disability: If your qualifying injury or illness temporarily prevents you from working at all, you may qualify for temporary total disability (TTD) benefits. Note that your doctor must be the one to determine whether you are able to work or not due to your injury or illness. If you qualify, TTD benefits are paid in the amount of 66 2/3% of your average weekly wages, based on the 52 weeks immediately preceding the injury or illness.
- Temporary Partial Disability: If your doctor clears you to return to work with restrictions, you may qualify for temporary partial disability (TPD) benefits. TPD benefits are intended to supplement your wages when you are unable to fully perform the work you did before the injury or illness. The amount you may receive in TPD benefit depends on several factors, including the difference between your current wages and past average weekly wage.
- Permanent Partial Disability: Once you have reached “maximum medical improvement” (MMI), your doctor may assign you an “impairment rating.” If your impairment rating is more than 0% but less than 100%, you may be eligible for permanent partial disability (PPD) benefits. Qualifying for PPD benefits is somewhat challenging and requires various documents and medical reports proving the nature, severity, and permanency of your injury or condition.
- Permanent Total Disability: If you reach MMI and your doctor assigns you an impairment rating of 100%, meaning you are permanently and completely unable to work due to your injury or illness, you may qualify for permanent total disability (PTD) benefits. Only certain injuries qualify for PTD benefits, including injuries that result in complete paralysis, severe brain injuries, and the loss of both feet, legs, hands, or arms or the loss of vision or any combination of these.
- Death Benefits: Workers’ compensation also provides wage replacement benefits to surviving spouses and/or children when a covered employee dies due to a workplace accident or employment-related injury, illness, or medical condition. Additionally, workers’ compensation death benefits include up to $10,000 in funeral/burial expenses, as well as up to $1,000 for reasonable transportation costs.
Our Fredericksburg workers’ compensation lawyers can review your case and determine which types of benefits—as well as the amount in benefits—you may be entitled to receive. We offer free, no-obligation consultations during which we can provide personalized information specific to your situation.
What to Do After a Workplace Accident
If you are involved in a workplace accident, there are several steps you should take to protect yourself and your rights.
After any workplace accident in Virginia, be sure to do the following:
- Get Medical Attention: You should always seek immediate medical attention for any work-related injury. If necessary, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room. If emergency care is not required, you should still go to the doctor as soon as possible. This is important for several reasons—not only does it ensure that you receive the care you need to prevent further injury, but it also serves as evidence of your injury for your future workers’ compensation claim.
- Notify Your Employer: After a workplace accident, you should notify your employer in writing about the incident as soon as possible. By law, you have 30 days to report the injury to your employer in Virginia. If you fail to report the incident in writing within 30 days, you could lose your right to file for workers’ compensation, meaning you may not be eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits.
- Ensure Your Employer Files a First Report of Injury: Once you have notified your employer of the incident or injury, your employer has 10 days to file a “First Report of Injury” to the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission. If your employer does not file the First Report of Injury within 10 days, or if you simply wish to begin the process on your own, you may file a claim yourself. In Virginia, you have two years to file a workers’ compensation claim.
- Follow Your Doctor’s Instructions: One of the main reasons workers’ compensation claims are denied is because claimants fail to comply with their doctors’ prescribed therapies. It is extremely important that you follow your doctor’s instructions, including taking time off work, taking prescribed medications, and attending follow-up appointments. If you don’t do these things, you could lose your right to receive workers’ compensation benefits.
- Contact an Attorney: While you are not required by law to hire a workers’ compensation attorney, there are many good reasons to work with an experienced lawyer, like ours at Reinhardt | Harper | Davis. An attorney from our firm can help you with every step of your claim and ensure that you do not inadvertently make any mistakes that could jeopardize your benefits. We can also stand up for you if your employer or their insurance company disputes or denies your workers’ compensation claim.
How Reinhardt | Harper | Davis Can Help with Your Work Injury Claim
Our Fredericksburg workers’ compensation lawyers have more than 100 years of combined experience, as well as a long history of success in some of the most complex and challenging workers’ compensation cases in Virginia. In fact, our firm is responsible for Virginia’s four largest workers’ compensation cases.
When you trust your workers’ compensation case to our team, you get the experience, resources, and in-depth legal knowledge of our entire team. Our attorneys are supported by a large staff of paralegals, case managers, and intake specialists; as a client, you will always receive the personal attention, support, and care you and your case deserve. In addition to helping with your workers’ compensation claim, we can review your case and determine whether you are eligible to file a personal injury lawsuit against a negligent third party or seek additional benefits, such as Social Security disability benefits. Our goal is to maximize your recovery so that you and your family can navigate this challenging time.