In Virginia, a person who is injured in a workplace accident or who develops a disease or other medical condition due to exposure or other conditions on the job is typically entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. Workers’ compensation provides several kinds of benefits, including:
- Payment for the reasonable and necessary treatment of work-related injuries and illnesses
- Partial wage loss replacement if the injury or illness keeps the worker off the job during his or her recovery
A worker who suffers an injury or illness on the job needs to be aware of the types and amounts of financial compensation available. If you have questions about the workers’ compensation benefits you may be entitled to in Virginia, contact Marks & Harrison today. One of our knowledgeable workers’ compensation attorneys can answer your questions in a free case evaluation.
Are There Different Levels to Workers’ Compensation Benefits?
Financial benefits under Virginia’s workers’ compensation system depend on several factors. This includes whether the worker is still treating the injury or illness, whether the worker can return to limited or restricted duty, and the type and severity of the injury or illness.
The levels of workers’ compensation benefits include:
- Temporary total disability benefits: These benefits are paid when your injury or illness prevents you from reporting to work. They continue until you either are cleared to return to full or limited duty, or until your treating physician determines you have reached maximum medical improvement. They can last up to a maximum of 500 weeks. You will be paid two-thirds of your average weekly wage, up to the maximum of the state average weekly wage, as calculated annually by the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission.
- Temporary partial disability benefits: These benefits are paid if your injury or illness allows you to return to a light-duty position or modified schedule that pays less than your pre-injury/illness average weekly wage. Benefits will equal two-thirds of the difference between your average weekly wage and the income you are making in your light- or modified-duty role.
- Permanent partial disability benefits: If you have permanent loss of or loss of use of a body part that does not totally disable you from gainful employment, you may be entitled to receive these benefits. These benefits are calculated according to your average weekly wage and an impairment rating system, based on the type and extent of disability you have suffered.
- Permanent total disability benefits: If you are disabled from being able to work any type of gainful employment, you will be paid two-thirds of your average weekly wage prior to your injury or illness, up to the state maximum. These benefits continue indefinitely (subject to the employer’s requests for periodic reevaluations of disability). They may even be paid to your spouse following your death.
Is the Amount of Workers’ Comp I Receive Based on My Previous Pay?
Yes. Your average weekly wage prior to your injury or illness serves as the most important factor in determining the amount of workers’ compensation you receive. If you worked for your employer for at least one year prior to your injury, your average weekly wage is equal to your total earnings for the previous 12 months, divided by 52 (with time deducted if you missed seven or more days from work in the previous 12 months). People who have worked for an employer for less than one year and seasonal and temporary workers may have their average weekly wage calculated by dividing their total earnings from the employer by the number of weeks they have worked, or by calculating the average weekly wage of another employee who worked in the same type of role.
What Factors Can Affect How Much Money I Receive from Workers’ Comp?
Multiple factors can affect the calculation of your average weekly wage and, therefore, the amount of money you receive from workers’ compensation. These factors include:
- Overtime pay
- Tips and gratuities
- Training pay
- Vacation pay
- Fringe benefits (e.g., 401(k) contributions, health insurance, meals, room and board)
What If the Amount of Money I Receive from Workers’ Comp Isn’t Enough to Pay My Bills?
In any event, all workers who receive workers’ compensation benefits are only entitled to two-thirds wage replacement benefits for disability. Unfortunately, Virginia also sets a maximum on disability benefits payments. As a result, high-wage earners may end up having an average weekly wage and disability benefit that is capped by the state maximum.
If the benefits you are receiving can’t cover your bills and other living expenses, you should discuss with your attorney the possibility of negotiating a lump-sum payment as a settlement of your workers’ compensation claim. This could enable you to pay your bills now while you transition into a light- or modified-duty role or an alternative career.
Can I Receive Workers’ Compensation from Multiple Jobs?
If you worked a second job performing the same or substantially similar type of work as the job in which you were injured, and your injury also prevents you from working that second job, you may be entitled to include income from that second job in the calculation of your average weekly wage.
Can I Appeal How Much Money I Receive from Workers’ Compensation?
If you believe that your employer or its workers’ compensation insurer is not paying you the full benefits you are entitled to under Virginia’s workers’ compensation law, you have the option to file a claim with the state Workers’ Compensation Commission. This may lead to a hearing before a commissioner who will decide how much money you are entitled to under the law.
Talk to a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Now
If you’ve been injured in a workplace accident or have been diagnosed with an occupational illness, talk with a Virginia workers’ compensation lawyer at Marks & Harrison today. We can advise you of your legal rights and discuss how our firm will fight for the maximum benefits and compensation you are entitled to under the law. Contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation.