How Long Can You Receive Workers’ Compensation Benefits in Virginia?

Injured man filing for workers compensation.

If you’re injured on the job in Virginia, your workers’ compensation benefits are an important lifeline as you seek treatment and try to get back to normal. Having your benefits run out can put your whole financial future in jeopardy. This raises an important question for anyone seeking workers’ compensation benefits in Virginia: Just how long do those benefits last?

Unfortunately, there’s no simple answer to that question. There are complicated formulas for determining the length and amount of workers’ compensation benefits you receive. Depending on the extent of your injuries, you could receive benefits for a few weeks, months, years, or the rest of your life.

To understand the full benefits to which you are entitled after an on-the-job injury, speak to a workers’ compensation attorney at Marks & Harrison today. Our highly trained and knowledgeable workers’ comp lawyers will make sure you are pursuing the full benefits you need. Contact us now for your free consultation.

How Do You Receive Workers’ Compensation Benefits in Virginia?

Filing the correct paperwork and following the proper steps are essential when pursuing workers’ compensation benefits. Here’s what to do if you are hurt on the job:

  • Notify your employer of your injury. Virginia law requires that injured workers notify their employers within 30 days of the injury. You should submit your notice in writing. We recommend submitting this report as soon as possible, as the initial report to your employer is what kicks off the workers’ comp claims process.
  • File a workers’ comp claim form. Your next step is to fill out a workers’ compensation claim form and submit it to the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission. Once you’ve made your initial report to your employer and filled out a claim form, your employer will submit its own report to the Workers’ Compensation Commission, as well as a separate report to the workers’ compensation insurance carrier.
  • Communicate with the insurer. After your employer has submitted its reports, you’ll likely get a call from your employer’s workers’ comp insurer. The insurer will ask you to make a statement about your injury and the circumstances surrounding it. We strongly advise speaking to an attorney before making any statement to an insurance company, as the insurer may try to use your statement to deny your claim or minimize payments.
  • The insurer makes its decision. Once the Workers’ Compensation Commission has received your claim form, the commission will notify your employer’s workers’ comp insurer that it has 20 days to make a judgment on your claim. If your claim is accepted, you’ll get the necessary paperwork to start receiving your benefits, and the commission will draw up an Award Order confirming those benefits. If your claim is denied, the commission can set a date for an appeal hearing where you and the insurer can present additional evidence.

Are There Different Types of Workers’ Compensation?

There are different workers’ compensation benefits depending on the extent of your injuries. The different benefits include:

  • Temporary partial disability – This is the basic level of workers’ compensation benefits. It covers workers whose injuries allow for light-duty or part-time work. In this case, the injured worker will receive two-thirds of the difference between his or her former average weekly wage and the new light-work wage.
  • Temporary total disability – In some cases, a worker may be injured so severely that he or she cannot work at all for a period of time, even if that period is temporary. These workers might qualify for temporary total disability benefits. The worker will be paid two-thirds of his or her average weekly wage earned prior to the injury, up to the maximum state average weekly wage.
  • Permanent partial disability – If a worker sustains permanent injuries that prevent him or her from working at the pre-injury level, the person may qualify for permanent partial disability benefits. In this case, a doctor must certify that the worker has reached the maximum level of medical improvement after an injury, and the doctor must assign an impairment rating. That rating is based on what body parts were injured and will determine what benefits the worker gets, as well as for how long.
  • Permanent total disability – In extreme cases, a worker may be so severely injured on the job that he or she cannot work at all ever again. In this case, the worker may be eligible for permanent total disability benefits.

It is important to speak with an attorney as soon as possible if you are injured on the job. An attorney from our firm can help you evaluate your options and demand the full benefits you are entitled to receive.

Is There a Limit to the Amount of Money You Can Receive from Workers’ Compensation?

Except in cases of permanent total disability, injured workers are generally entitled to a maximum of 500 weeks of workers’ compensation benefits. There are some exceptions to this limit, and a workers’ comp attorney can give you more detailed information as it pertains to your case.

Can You Work While Receiving Workers’ Comp?

If your doctor has approved you for light duty, you may be able to receive workers’ comp benefits while working. Otherwise, going back to work generally precludes you from receiving additional benefits.

Is There a Time Limit on Workers’ Compensation?

You have 30 days from the date of your injury to report the injury to your employer and the Workers’ Compensation Commission. Virginia also has a statute of limitations on workers’ compensation claims, which limits the time you have to file a claim to two years from the date of the injury.

It is important that you take action quickly to preserve your legal right to benefits. Contact an attorney as soon as possible to get started.

Can You Reapply for Workers’ Compensation If You Have Reached Your Limit?

If you reach your 500-week maximum for workers’ comp benefits and you’re still suffering from your injury, you may be able to apply for permanent total disability benefits. However, these benefits can be difficult to obtain. So you’ll need to consult with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney to decide the best strategy for your case.

Talk to a Workers’ Comp Lawyer Now

If you’ve been injured on the job, don’t wait to start the workers’ compensation process. Your medical bills and other expenses are piling up, and you need those benefits as soon as you can get them. To protect your right to maximum benefits, talk to one of the Virginia workers’ compensation attorneys at Marks & Harrison. Contact us now for your free consultation.

Louis D. Snesil is a graduate of the College of William & Mary and the University of Richmond School of Law who has practiced law in Virginia since 1983. He concentrates his practice on workers' compensation cases at Marks & Harrison. Louis served for 15 years as a member of the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association's Board of Governors and for three years as the Chair of the organization's Workers' Compensation section. He is also a member of the American Association for Justice and Workers Injury Law & Advocacy Group. He was listed in The Best Lawyers in America in 2014.