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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
When employees are injured at work in Fredericksburg, they have the right to file for workers’ compensation benefits. This compensation can help injured employees with their medical expenses and a portion of the wages they lose when they are unable to work. Other benefits may also become available. For example, they may be paid for any permanent disability caused by their injury. Also, if employees cannot return to their old job, they are often eligible for job retraining.
Many workers are unfamiliar with these provisions of Virginia’s workers’ compensation rules. Employers and their insurance companies know this and often try to deny a worker’s valid injury claim. For this reason, if you have been injured while at work, it is important that you speak to a Fredericksburg workers’ compensation lawyer.
At Marks & Harrison, a Fredericksburg workers’ compensation lawyer can help you understand your right to benefits for your injury. Call us or contact us online to schedule your free consultation.
What Workers’ Compensation Benefits Can I Receive?
After sustaining a workplace injury, you may be unable to return to work for days or weeks. You may also incur hefty medical expenses as you take care of your injury. Workers’ compensation is there to help with some of your expenses. It provides benefits for your medical bills.
Workers’ compensation also provides for a portion of your lost wages. The program provides up to two-thirds of your gross income before taxes, versus your take home pay. If you were injured so severely that you cannot return to the same line of work, workers’ compensation will also provide benefits for job retraining, allowing you to find employment in a different position.
How Do I Apply for Workers’ Comp Benefits?
If you need to apply for workers’ compensation benefits you should inform your employer of your injury. You must do this within 30 days of your accident and injury. The sooner you tell your employer about your accident, the sooner you can start receiving the benefits you need.
Once you tell your employer about the accident, your employer will file a claim with its insurance company. However, this is not the only document you need to file. You must also file a Claim for Benefits with the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission. Here’s how to submit that form:
- You can print the form and mail a completed copy to the Commission’s headquarters or a regional office.
- You can register with the Commission and complete and submit the form online.
- You can also fax the form into the Commission, but this is not recommended, as you may not know with certainty that the Commission received your claim.
What Documentation Do I Need for My Workers’ Compensation Claim?
The Claim for Benefits form is an important document that you need to file. You may also need to prove that your accident happened at work. For this you can use pictures of the accident scene, eyewitness statements or a doctor’s report.
What If My Employer Does Not Have Workers’ Compensation Coverage?
In Virginia, all employers with three or more full or part-time employees must carry workers’ compensation insurance. When they do not have coverage, workers hurt in a workplace accident can file a personal injury claim in court. A personal injury lawsuit can provide for medical expenses and lost income. A lawsuit can also provide a wider range of damages than a workers’ comp claim. For instance, losses such as pain and suffering are not allowed in workers’ compensation but can be included in a personal injury claim.
What Steps Should I Take If My Workers’ Comp Claim Is Denied?
Employers are often worried that reporting an employee’s workplace accident will cause their insurance rates to increase. That is one of the reasons they dispute the claims of injured workers. For their part, insurance companies may be more concerned about keeping their profits than paying out benefits to injured workers.
If your claim is denied, you should speak to a lawyer who can help you appeal your claim. On appeal, your lawyer will request a hearing before the Commission. A lawyer will present your case with evidence that substantiates your claim.
How Long Do Workers’ Compensation Benefits Last?
Most injured workers can receive workers’ compensation benefits for the entire period of recovery from their injuries. Employees who sustain the most severe injuries can only receive workers’ compensation benefits for a maximum of nine and a half years. If employees still cannot return to work after this time, they should consider other options, such as Social Security disability benefits.
Can My Benefits Increase If My Injury Is Worse Than Initially Thought?
Sometimes, people sustain an injury that does not seem so severe. However, as treatment progresses, they realize that their injury is worse than they realized. When this is the case, employees often worry whether their workers’ compensation benefits will cover the increased cost.
The good news is that workers’ compensation covers all of your medical expenses. If your bills increase, so will your medical benefits. However, the lost wages portion of workers’ compensation is based on your wages before your accident. Your lost income payments will not change even if your injuries are more serious than you initially thought.
Can My Workers’ Comp Claim Be Denied?
Workers’ comp claims in Virginia can be denied in a few instances that are spelled out in the rules. A few examples:
- If drugs or alcohol were in your system at the time of the injury, the employer may have a valid reason to deny your claim.
- If you were injured while performing duties outside the scope of your employment, your claim could be denied.
- Your claim could be denied if you do not inform your employer of the accident within 30 days.
- If you were injured at work and then fired a few days later, you cannot file a claim at that point. Workers’ compensation is only available to employees.
Talk to a Fredericksburg Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Now
If you have been injured at work, it is important that you understand your rights. One of those rights is to receive workers’ compensation. But employers and insurers do not always want to pay out those benefits.
Speak to a Fredericksburg workers’ compensation lawyer as soon as you sustain a workplace injury. At Marks & Harrison, our skilled attorneys can walk you through the claims process and give you the best chance of receiving the benefits you need. Call us or contact us online to schedule your free consultation and to learn more about how we can help.