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“They sent somebody to visit me in the hospital and get my side of the story (totally free). I was assigned Mr. Crawford and told that we had a case. Fast forward about 9 months later and I received literally 14x what the insurance company had offered me. This is after the lawyer and medical fees as well. So basically this was totally free and I barely had to do anything I am so glad I called Marks and Harrison and I will be recommending them to all of my family and friends.”— Robert Smith
No worker expects to be injured on the job. Unfortunately, workplace accidents and injuries are commonplace in Charlottesville. When accidents happen at work, injured employees have the right to workers’ compensation benefits. Injured workers should know how to claim these benefits, but the complex system can lead to mistakes – and bar them from recovering.
Do not let a mistake cost you the benefits you need. The Charlottesville workers’ compensation lawyers at Marks & Harrison can help you successfully navigate the system. Our legal team can help you claim the benefits you deserve. Call us or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.
Can I Receive Workers’ Compensation for My Injury?
In most cases, an employee can claim workers’ compensation when injured on the job while performing duties within the scope of employment. However, in some circumstances the worker can be barred from claiming these benefits.
Virginia’s workers’ compensation system also has certain rules injured employees must follow. For example, workers must report an accident to the employer within 30 days. If the worker misses this deadline, workers’ compensation benefits may be forfeited. Workers’ compensation can also be denied if alcohol or drugs are found in a worker’s system at the time the accident occurred.
What Documentation Do I Need for My Workers’ Compensation Claim?
Two important pieces of documentation are needed before a workers’ compensation claim is filed:
- You will need to complete a Claim for Benefits form and submit it to the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission. You can register with the Commission and submit the form online, or you can print out the form and mail it into the Commission. You can also fax the form to the Commission’s headquarters or a regional office.
- You may have to prove your claim to your employer and their insurance company. You will need medical documentation from a doctor that outlines the full extent of your injuries. The documentation should also have a diagnosis and a prognosis, and indicate the injury occurred at work.
Can I See My Own Doctor for a Workers’ Comp Claim?
After you sustain a workplace injury in Charlottesville, your employer and its insurance carrier are required to provide a panel of physicians that you can visit. You may choose to see any doctor on that list, and your employer cannot force you to see a specific doctor. But if your doctor is not listed, workers’ compensation will not pay for a visit there.
What Is Considered a Work-Related Injury?
A work-related injury is any injury that occurred while you were at work. To qualify for workers’ compensation, the accident must have taken place while you were performing duties within the scope of your employment. For example, if you were working in a restaurant and sustained burns while cooking a meal for a guest, that would qualify as a work-related injury. However, if you went out on a personal errand when you were hurt, this may not qualify as a work-related injury.
What Benefits Can I Receive from a Workers’ Compensation Claim?
Workers’ compensation pays for medical expenses associated with your injury. Workers’ comp also pays for two-thirds of your lost income. When calculating your lost wages, the insurance company will use your gross income, or the amount you earned before taxes. The insurance company then calculates two-thirds of your average weekly wage as your payment, up to a maximum limit.
How Long Do I Have to File a Workers’ Compensation Claim?
You only have 30 days to report the workplace accident to your employer. However, you have two years from the date of the accident to file a workers’ compensation claim. This time period is known as the statute of limitations.
If you file a claim after the statute of limitations expires, your claim is probably time-barred and you will not receive any compensation. While you have two years to file your claim, you should not wait that long. After an accident, you likely will need benefits right away. The longer you wait to file, the longer you will wait for the benefits you need.
Can I Sue My Employer for Additional Damages?
After a workplace accident, the only remedy most workers have is a workers’ compensation claim. In most cases, you cannot sue your employer in court. However, if your employer does not carry workers’ compensation insurance, then you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against them.
It might also be possible to file a personal injury claim if a third party – someone other than you employer or a co-worker – were responsible for your injury. For example, if you were involved in a crash while driving for work, you could bring a claim against the at-fault driver.
What Should I Do If My Workers’ Compensation Claim Is Denied?
Insurance companies are in the business of making money. For that reason, they may deny your valid workers’ compensation claim and try to avoid paying the benefits you need. When your claim is denied, you can appeal the decision and request a hearing in front of the Commission.
At the hearing, an attorney can argue you deserve workers’ compensation because your injury occurred while you were at work. You can also contest the claim when your employer denies you lost any wages, or only agrees to pay benefits for a short period of time even though you are still unable to return to work.
Talk to a Charlottesville Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Now
Injured workers have the right to workers’ compensation when they are hurt at work, but these benefits can be difficult and frustrating to obtain. If you have been injured at work, call our Charlottesville workers’ compensation lawyers at Marks & Harrison today. We know how to hold employers and their insurance companies accountable for the compensation you need. We can walk you through every step of the process. When you need help with a claim, call us or contact us online to schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys.