Workers’ compensation is based on a simple idea: that the burden of on-the-job injuries should fall on the employer rather than the worker. But many myths have grown around this complex system. As a result, if your claim runs into problems, you should consider consulting an attorney. Workers’ compensation can provide significant benefits that you don’t want to miss out on if you’re eligible.

Your workers’ compensation lawyer can provide guidance and legal advice about the laws protecting workers. Some of the myths your lawyer can debunk include the following:

Myth 1: Workers’ Compensation Guarantees Your Full Salary

A workers’ compensation claim can pay disability benefits if you miss more than seven work days. If your disability lasts longer than 21 days, you will get paid for the seven-day waiting period as well.

These disability benefits include:

  • Temporary partial disability if you perform some but not all job tasks
  • Temporary total disability if you cannot perform any gainful activity
  • Permanent partial disability if you reach maximum medical improvement
  • Permanent total disability if you will never again perform any gainful activity

All these disability benefits have caps and limits. The most common is temporary total disability (TTD). This disability benefit gets paid when your injury disables you completely, but your doctor expects you to recover. Depending on your job, these disabilities might include a concussion or a broken leg.

If you qualify for TTD benefits, you will only get 66% of your average weekly wage, falling short of your full salary. Workers’ comp also caps the size of your benefit, which means that high-wage employees might not even receive 66% of their wages. This is called the Maximum Compensation Rate.

Additionally, Virginia caps how long you can get TTD benefits at 500 weeks, regardless of how long you are disabled. After that time, you can convert to permanent disability, but only if you can prove you will no longer improve medically and are likely to be completely out of work forever.

Myth 2: Filing a Claim Will Compromise Your Job Security

Virginia workers’ compensation law protects employees from being fired for filing a workers’ comp claim. However, these protections are very narrow.

Your employer can legally fire you for almost any other reason, even ones connected to your injury. For example, your employer can fire you for causing a workplace accident or even for being unable to perform your job duties after your injury.

Myth 3: Workers’ Compensation Claims Always Cause Employer Retaliation

While worker retaliation can happen, employers rarely engage in this practice for two reasons. First, they face heavy penalties for engaging in worker retaliation. You can file a lawsuit against your employer for retaliation and recover back pay plus interest if you win. The court may also force your employer to reinstate you.

Second, retaliation is rare because it is ineffective. Your employer’s workers’ comp insurer must pay for any claims that arose while you worked for the employer. Specifically, firing you does not end your claim. You can continue to pursue it and receive benefits after termination. As a result, firing you accomplishes nothing.

Myth 4: You Can’t Choose Which Doctor to Use for Workers’ Comp Cases

You can choose your treating doctor, but your employer and its insurer can limit your options. Many workers’ comp insurers contract with certain HMOs or provider networks. When you suffer an injury, your employer and its insurer must present you with a panel of at least three providers to choose from.

You can select a doctor not on the panel when the insurer denies your claim and then seek reimbursement after you overcome the denial.


Seeking Legal Guidance From an Attorney: Workers' Compensation Realities

The Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission provides guides that explain your rights and options. However, the state has not tailored these resources to your particular situation as every case is unique.

To understand your rights and options, you may need to consult a lawyer. Most workers’ comp lawyers offer free consultations, allowing you to learn about your situation without any cost or commitment.

Broadly, almost every worker is entitled to workers’ compensation, including full and part-time workers. The state designed the system to be easy for workers. The process involves your employer notifying its insurance carrier of your injury. In response, the carrier sends you the forms you need to file a claim.

If your claim is denied, you can request a hearing so the commission can review the denial. If your claim is accepted, you will receive immediate medical treatment and disability benefits after the waiting period expires.

Frequently Asked Questions About Virginia Workers’ Compensation

Here are some answers to questions that people often ask about workers’ compensation:

What Injuries Fall Under Workers’ Compensation?

You can pursue workers’ compensation after suffering a work-related injury or occupational disease. Occupational diseases include exposure to toxic chemicals, hearing loss from loud noises, and repetitive stress injuries.

Can I Get Workers’ Compensation Benefits if I Already Have Health Insurance?

Yes, workers’ comp provides benefits that health insurance does not. If your health insurance covers your medical treatment, the insurer may seek reimbursement from your workers’ comp benefits.

Can I Get Workers’ Comp if I Caused the Accident?

Yes, workers’ comp is a no-fault system where you get benefits regardless of how your injuries happened. Insurers have only narrow grounds for denying claims, including intoxication or violations of other safety rules that your employer has in place.

Consult an Attorney: Workers’ Compensation Explained

Virginia workers’ compensation laws create a complex system that has spawned many misunderstandings. An attorney can often dispel these myths so you know your rights. Contact Commonwealth Law Group for a free consultation to discuss your injuries and your right to seek workers’ comp benefits.

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.