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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
Workers who are hurt at work in Virginia can usually claim workers’ compensation benefits. Those benefits help pay for the workers’ medical expenses and a portion of their lost income. Naturally, workers often wonder how long they can receive these benefits – especially when a serious injury keeps them out of work for a long time.
The length of time a worker can receive workers’ compensation benefits will vary. Workers with a permanent disability usually receive benefits as long as they need them. In Virginia, the maximum amount of time is nine years. No matter how serious a worker’s injury is, receiving workers’ comp can be difficult to obtain, and the process can be frustrating.
A Harrisonburg workers’ compensation lawyer can help. The Virginia workers’ compensation lawyers at Marks & Harrison ensure injured workers get the benefits they need. Our legal team makes sure the benefits continue as long as they are necessary. Call us or contact us online to arrange a free consultation with one of our attorneys.
What Injuries Are Covered Under Workers’ Comp?
Workers’ compensation benefits in Virginia cover any injury or occupational illness that was sustained while an employee was on the job at the time of the accident.
These injuries include, but are not limited to:
- Soft tissue injuries, such as sprains, strains, and tears in the muscles and tendons.
- Fractures, lacerations, and cuts.
- Burns from heat or chemicals.
- Traumatic brain injuries.
- Respiratory illnesses, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
How Do I File for Workers’ Comp?
When you are hurt on the job, tell your employer right away about the accident. Although you have 30 days to do this, you should notify your employer immediately so your benefits are not delayed. You should also complete and file a form, which is called Workers’ Compensation Commission’s Claim for Benefits.
The fastest way to submit this form is to register with the Commission and complete it online. You can also print out the form and mail it to the Commission’s headquarters or a regional office of the Commission. You can also fax the claim, but this is not advised. The fax might be lost or not go through to the Commission. That could result in a delay of benefits.
Is There a Time Limit on Filing for Workers’ Compensation?
You must report the accident and resulting injury to your employer within 30 days. However, you have two years from the date of the accident to file your claim. If your claim is denied, a request for reconsideration or an appeal can be filed outside that two-year timeframe, as long as the claim was timely filed.
How Much Money Can I Expect from Workers’ Comp?
Workers’ compensation provides for your medical expenses when you are injured at work. The benefits also provide for a portion of your lost income.
To determine how much lost income you will receive, you must add up your wages, bonuses and any commission for the 52 weeks prior to your injury. You should calculate your gross earnings, not your take-home pay. This figure, when divided by 52 weeks, is your average weekly wage.
Workers’ compensation only pays two-thirds of your full weekly wage. To determine how much you will receive, multiply your average weekly wage by 66 percent, or two-thirds. That figure is the lost wage you will receive.
Can My Employer Deny My Workers’ Comp Claim?
Your employer and its insurance company can deny your workers’ compensation, but only for a few reasons. These reasons include:
- You did not tell your employer of the injury. Again, you have only 30 days to report the injury to your employer. If you miss this deadline, your employer can deny your claim.
- You had drugs or alcohol in your system. Your employer has the right to ask you to submit to a drug or alcohol test immediately after your injury. Any drugs or alcohol in your system gives your employer a reason to deny your claim.
- You did not see a doctor right away. Seeing a doctor immediately helps document your injuries. If you do not see your doctor right away, your employer and the insurance company can argue that you were not injured at work but somewhere else.
- You were injured soon after being hired. If you file an injury claim soon after being hired, the insurance company may place your claim on hold and investigate whether you filed a prior workers’ comp claim with a former employer.
- You were terminated. Workers’ comp is only available for employees. If you were fired before you filed your claim, you are ineligible for benefits.
In some cases, the insurance company and your employer may make up reasons that are not true to deny your claim. This is why it is imperative to work with a lawyer when filing a claim.
How Do I Prove that My Injury Occurred at Work?
To claim workers’ comp benefits, you will have to present evidence that your accident occurred at work. This evidence can include pictures of the accident scene, eyewitness statements, time reports showing you were on the clock, maintenance reports showing equipment was not properly maintained, and documentation from your doctor.
How Long Do Workers’ Comp Benefits Last?
In most cases, you can receive workers’ comp benefits for as long as you need them. In Virginia, the maximum period for benefits is nine and one-half years, or 500 weeks.
Talk to a Harrisonburg Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Now
Employees who are injured at work have the right to file a claim for workers’ compensation. However, employers and their insurance companies often deny these claims or pay for less than the full amount of time that benefits are needed.
If you have been injured at work and need to file a claim, speak to our Harrisonburg workers’ compensation lawyers at Marks & Harrison first. We will advise you on your claim and give you the best chance of securing the benefits you need. Call us today or contact us online to arrange a free consultation with one of our attorneys.