Virginia Workers’ Compensation Attorneys
Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim
Every year, thousands of workers throughout Virginia are hurt on the job or suffer work-related injuries, illnesses, and medical conditions. The aftermath of these injuries and medical conditions, such as exorbitant medical bills and significant lost wages from time taken off work to recover, can be immense. Often, injured workers and their families struggle to get back on their feet following a serious workplace accident or job-related illness.
The good news is that most employees in Virginia are covered by workers’ compensation. Workers’ compensation is a no-fault system, meaning you do not need to prove that your employer (or any other party) negligently caused your job-related injury or illness to recover monetary benefits. However, there are certain requirements you must meet and various steps you must take to qualify.
If you were injured on the job or sustained a work-related illness or medical condition, reach out to our Virginia workers’ compensation attorneys at Reinhardt | Harper | Davis. With over 100 years of combined experience and a proven record of success—including handling the four largest workers’ compensation cases in Virginia—our team has what it takes to guide you through the legal process.
Who Is Eligible for Workers’ Compensation in Virginia?
In Virginia, all employers who have three or more employees must carry workers’ compensation insurance. This applies whether the employees are part-time or full-time workers, and it covers all workers who are classified as “employees.”
While employers are not required to provide workers’ compensation for independent contractors, an injured worker’s designation as an “independent contractor,” or the fact that they are paid on a 1099 by the employer, is not as important as the facts of the worker’s relationship to the employer. A worker is only truly an “independent contractor” in Virginia if they have significant control over how and when they complete their work for the employer. If the employer controls how work is completed, the worker is considered an employee, not an independent contractor.
What Types of Injuries & Illnesses Are Covered by Workers’ Compensation?
Workers’ compensation covers all injuries, illnesses, and medical conditions that occur as a result of activities or duties the employee carries out for the benefit of the employer. This includes both workplace injuries and injuries sustained outside of the workplace, either while the employee is “on the clock” or otherwise carrying out a work-related duty or activity. It also includes various illnesses and medical conditions related to the employee’s work.
Some examples of the many work-related injuries, illnesses, and medical conditions covered by Virginia workers’ compensation insurance include:
- Any injury resulting from a workplace accident, such as a fall
- Broken bones/fractures
- Burns, including severe burn injuries, and electrocution
- Back injuries, including chronic back pain
- Overuse/overexertion injuries, such as sprains and strains
- Repetitive strain injuries, such as carpal tunnel
- Head, neck, and shoulder injuries
- Spinal cord injuries, including partial and total paralysis
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Vehicle/transportation accident-related injuries
- Most construction accidents
- Exposure to toxic or harmful substances, leading to cancer and other illnesses
- Occupational diseases, such as dermatitis, hearing loss, or respiratory illness
Please note that this is not an exhaustive list. If you sustained any type of work-related injury or illness, or were involved in any type of workplace accident while on the job in Virginia, you could be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.
What to Do After a Work-Related Injury or Illness
The steps you take after a workplace accident or job-related injury are important, as they not only affect your immediate safety and wellbeing but can also impact your future health and workers’ compensation claim.
If you were injured on the job, or suffered a work-related injury or illness, try to do the following:
- Seek immediate medical attention. You should always receive medical care after a work-related injury (or illness), even if the injury seems minor. This not only protects your continued health, but it also establishes proof of your injury for your future workers’ compensation claim.
- Notify your employer. In Virginia, you must notify your employer of a workplace accident or job-related injury or illness within 30 days. The clock begins running on the date of the incident or injury, or the date on which the injury or illness was discovered/could be discovered.
- Keep a copy of the written notice. You should hold onto a copy of your report to your employer, as well as any available evidence. This includes statements from coworkers or other witnesses, as well as copies of your medical records and more.
- File an official workers’ compensation claim. In Virginia, you have two years to file a claim with the Workers’ Compensation Commission. Once you have reported your injury or illness, your employer should notify the Commission within 10 days, but it is still a good idea to file a claim.
- Contact a workers’ compensation attorney. While it is not required by law that you hire a workers’ compensation attorney, having one by your side from the start can make a significant difference in the outcome of your claim.
At Reinhardt | Harper | Davis, we assist injured workers and the surviving family members of fatal workplace accident victims throughout the entire workers’ compensation process. Whether you need help filing an initial claim, seeking workers’ compensation death benefits, or appealing a denied workers’ compensation claim, our Virginia workers’ comp attorneys can help.
What Workers’ Compensation Benefits Are Available?
Workers’ compensation provides certain specific monetary benefits to eligible individuals. The exact type and amount of benefits you can expect to receive will depend a great deal on the unique factors involved in your case.
Below, we’ve provided a general overview of available workers’ compensation benefits:
- Medical Benefits: Eligible individuals will receive full compensation for all reasonable and necessary medical expenses related to their covered work-related injury or illness. This includes (but is not limited to) costs associated with hospitalization, emergency transportation, surgery, medical treatments, physical therapy, diagnostic tests, doctor’s visits, follow-up appointments, prescription drugs, medical devices (such as prostheses), and transportation to and from medical appointments.
- Temporary Disability: Workers’ compensation provides both temporary total disability (TTD) benefits for those who are completely unable to work for a certain period of time due to their qualifying work-related injury and temporary partial disability (TPD) benefits for those who are able to return to work with restrictions (as determined by a doctor) after a work-related injury or illness. TTD benefits are calculated at 66 2/3% of the worker’s regular wages (based on the 52 weeks immediately preceding the injury or illness), subject to a state-imposed maximum. TPD benefits are intended to supplement any loss of wages resulting from a doctor’s work restrictions on an injured employee.
- Permanent Disability: Once a doctor determines that a worker has reached “maximum medical improvement (MMI),” meaning their condition will not improve with continued treatment, the worker is given an “impairment rating.” If the worker’s impairment rating is more than 0% and less than 100%, they may qualify for permanent partial disability (PPD) benefits. If the worker’s impairment rating is 100%, meaning they cannot obtain any form of gainful employment, they may be entitled to permanent total disability (PTD) benefits. Various additional requirements apply for one to be eligible for permanent disability benefits under the Virginia workers’ compensation system. Reach out to our attorneys to learn more.
- Death Benefits: The Virginia workers’ compensation system provides death benefits when an employee dies due to a work-related accident, injury, illness, or medical condition. These benefits include both a wage replacement benefit, paid to the surviving spouse and/or children who were dependent on the deceased and under the age of 18 or under the age of 23 and currently enrolled in college/an accredited educational institution. Workers’ compensation also provides up to $10,000 for reasonable and necessary funeral/burial expenses and up to $1,000 in reasonable travel/transportation costs.
Our Virginia workers’ compensation attorneys can review your claim and help you determine which benefits, and at what amounts, you may be entitled to receive. We are happy to answer any questions you may have during a completely free and confidential consultation.