Share This Article
Virginia has relatively safe workplaces. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the state tied Texas for the second-lowest number of nonfatal occupational injuries and diseases in 2021. But safe does not mean perfect. If you are injured on the job, a worker compensation lawyer can help you receive the benefits you deserve under Virginia law.
Potential Questions for a Worker Compensation Lawyer
Workers suffer injuries in falls, car accidents, and other workplace incidents. Under Virginia law, a business with three or more part-time or full-time employees must buy workers’ compensation insurance to cover them for work-related injuries.
When you suffer an on-the-job injury, your employer is supposed to notify their workers’ comp insurer of the claim. You should also file a claim for benefits with the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission. The insurer then investigates the claim and decides whether your injury falls under the policy.
Insurers have a financial incentive to deny benefits. If your claim is denied or you disagree with the benefits paid, you can hire a worker compensation lawyer to secure fair benefits. Here are some questions to discuss so you understand where your claim stands and what a work injury lawyer can do for you.
What Do I Need to Know About Workers’ Comp Laws in the State?
Workers’ compensation is a no-fault system. This means you do not need to prove your employer was negligent in causing or preventing your injuries. Equally important, the insurer cannot deny your claim by asserting you acted negligently in getting injured.
However, there are many other aspects of your claim that insurers can dispute, including:
- When your injuries happened
- Whether your work caused or worsened your injuries
- What treatment you need
- How much your average earnings are
- Whether your condition is caused by a pre-existing condition rather than by your accident
- Whether you caused your accident through the violation of your employer’s safety rule
The benefits you receive depend on the answers to these questions. You must have an open and honest discussion about the incident that led to your injuries so the workers’ compensation attorney can analyze how the law affects your claim.
What Challenges Do You See in My Case?
Talk to the lawyer about any potential complications that might arise in your case, which could include issues of both law and fact. Some examples of factual questions that could arise are:
- Is your condition caused by your accident or by a pre-existing condition?
- Did intoxication by drugs or alcohol cause your injury?
- Were you engaged in horseplay?
- Did you report your injury in a timely fashion?
The answers to these questions will depend on the facts as supported by the evidence. Your attorney will use medical records, witness statements, and communications to resolve these challenges. You could also face legal obstacles to your claims. Some examples of legal questions you could face in your case include:
- Was your injury work-related?
- Are you disabled from returning to work?
- Did you follow the procedures required under Virginia law?
These questions cannot be answered with evidence. Instead, they require an insurer to apply the law to the facts of your case. Sometimes, insurers apply the law incorrectly and deny compensable claims. In these situations, a workers’ comp attorney can respond to the insurer, request a hearing, and work with you to reverse the insurer’s denial.
What Kinds of Benefits Could I Qualify For?
Workers’ compensation benefits fall into three broad categories:
- Wage replacement (also called disability)
You should talk to your lawyer about the factors used to determine the benefits you receive. For example, the insurer only needs to pay for authorized treatment by an approved provider.
Also, you only receive benefits for necessary treatment related to your injury. The insurer can dispute payment if your medical expenses do not meet all these requirements.
How Long Do I Have to File a Claim?
Workers’ comp insurers can deny most claims filed after the two-year deadline set by Virginia law. But the law does provide some rare grounds for filing after two years, such as injuries caused by exposure to toxic substances. You should talk to the lawyer about your time limits so you do not miss any critical deadlines.
What Is Your Success Rate/Track Record?
Workers’ compensation cases differ from other types of personal injury claims. The procedures for hearings and appeals are unique to the workers’ compensation system. Also, the legal issues that arise with work-related injuries differ in many ways from the issues that arise from injuries caused by negligence.
You should discuss the lawyer’s success rate with workers’ comp cases. Their track record will tell you whether they have the knowledge, experience, and connections necessary to successfully resolve workers’ compensation claims.
Here are some answers to frequently asked questions about workers’ compensation:
Can I Get Compensated for a Pre-Existing Injury?
No, but you can get compensated if your workplace accident worsens a pre-existing injury. For example, suppose that you have arthritis in your knee, but you also tore knee cartilage while lifting a box at work. You can seek benefits for your torn cartilage but not for the pre-existing arthritis.
Can I Use My Doctor for Treatment?
Typically, no. Your employer’s workers’ compensation insurer will give you a panel of doctors to choose from. Your treating physician must come from that list. If your doctor happens to appear on it, you can choose your doctor.
How Much Does Workers’ Compensation Pay During My Recovery?
If you suffer temporary total disability, meaning you cannot work while you recover, you can receive two-thirds of your pre-tax average weekly wage until you heal. These benefits start on your eighth day out of work.
Learn About Your Rights From a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
A workers’ compensation lawyer can help you understand your rights so you can make informed decisions about your case. Contact Commonwealth Law to discuss your case.
If you have been injured at work or through the negligence of another individual or entity, contact us at (804) 999-9999 or or use the form below to connect with our legal team. We will fight to get you the justice you deserve.