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The laws around workers' compensation in Virginia are laid out in Title 65.2 of the Code of Virginia, the Workers' Compensation Act. Work injury settlements have their basis in how the act specifies who is compensated for injuries on the job, how much they are paid and for how long, and which injuries and losses they can claim compensation for.
Factors Involved in Work Injury Settlements
Rather than starting in the courts, workers always have to start with the workers' compensation program when they have a workplace injury. You can appeal a decision within the workers' comp system, and if unsuccessful you can appeal again to the full Virginia Workers' Compensation Commission.
If your appeal is unsuccessful, you can then appeal that ruling to the Virginia Court of Appeals.
The laws and appeal processes are very complicated, and you should have work injury lawyers in Richmond, VA, on your side. If you wish to appeal a denied claim or reduced benefits, your workers' comp lawyer will talk with you about several determining factors in work injury settlements, such as:
Total Cost of Medical Care and Ongoing Treatment
Virginia law provides for several medical costs for employees injured on the job, such as:
- Doctor visits for approved primary doctors and specialists
- Physical therapy
- Mileage reimbursement for doctor visits
Keep in mind that the law also provides that your employer can pick a panel of doctors and specialists that are covered under their insurance. Visits and care outside of what is approved may have to come out of your pocket.
If you disagree with the treatment the doctors provide or believe that you need lifetime rather than temporary medical care, you should hire an experienced workers' compensation benefits attorney to help you navigate the workers’ compensation process.
Lost Wages and Weekly Benefits
If your doctor says you are unable to work due to your injury on the job, you could be eligible for temporary or permanent disability benefits. There are two types of temporary disability if you are an injured worker, namely:
- Temporary Partial Disability is for situations when your doctor says you can return to work, but that there are restrictions. This type of disability compensation is meant to supplement wages lost due to the restrictions.
- Temporary Total Disability is for cases when your doctor says you cannot work due to your workplace injury. You are eligible to receive 67% of your average earnings in the last 52 weeks.
Disability Benefits Based on Disability Rating
You may be eligible for Permanent Partial Disability based on your doctor's diagnosis that you have an impairment due to injury that is no longer going to significantly improve. The doctor gives you an impairment rating, also called a permanent disability rating. If it is greater than zero for an extremity covered under Virginia law, you are entitled to compensation for your permanent loss.
You must provide several medical documents in order to qualify for permanent partial disability based on your disability rating. If you believe you are permanently disabled and your claim is denied, experienced work injury lawyers in Richmond, VA, can help you sort out the reason for your denial and help you with an appeal.
When To File a Work Injury Claim
There are several steps to the workers' compensation process in Virginia; it's crucial to have an experienced lawyer on your side to make a difference. There are deadlines to consider and multiple forms to fill out, all while you are also trying to deal with working under restrictions or not being able to work at all.
There are two situations in which you should quickly seek out a Richmond, VA, workers' compensation attorney with experience in work injury lawsuit settlements.
Workers' Compensation Claim Is Denied
Insurance companies chase profits, and employers want to do whatever they can to keep work injury settlements and premiums down. There are several reasons they may deny your claim, including:
- Your employer claims that your injury did not occur as part of your employment.
- The injury doesn't actually warrant missing work.
- The injury doesn't warrant medical treatment.
Workers Comp Is Insufficient For Damage Coverage
You also have the right to appeal a decision if your workplace injury is costing you more than your workers' compensation covers. Keep in mind that insurance companies want to pay out as little as possible, so they might low-ball compensation settlements.
These low-ball offers make it appear that the insurance company is on your side because they acknowledged your injury and costs. Keep track of your expenses as closely as possible, and make sure you can show proof of all of your medical expenses, your current loss of income, and future wage loss.
Be sure to request a hearing quickly to appeal the decision if you believe your workplace injury is costing you more than your workers' comp settlement offer. Your employer has lawyers at these hearings. The Virginia Workers' Compensation Commission itself thinks that you are at a disadvantage if you don't have one.
Receive the Work-Related Injury Settlement You Deserve
The process to receive workers' compensation in Virginia starts off easily enough if you report your injury on time to your employer and then file your claim in a timely manner. The situation gets much more complicated if your employer's insurance company denies your claim or offers you an amount that does not cover all of the expenses related to your injury.
If you are being mistreated after filing a workers' compensation claim in Virginia, contact us immediately. Our workers' compensation lawyers at the Commonwealth Law Group can get to work right away on analyzing your claim and the response from the insurance company and the workers' compensation commission.
We are prepared to help you through the claims and appeals process.
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.