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If you have been injured on the job, you will likely be covered by workers’ compensation. But how does workers’ comp work, and who can you trust to help you out? Your employer might tell you you don’t need a workplace injury lawyer. But that isn’t always good advice; it is intended to save your employer and their insurance company money.
When you have been injured on the job, you need an advocate who understands the system and has handled similar cases.
While you could try asking someone who has previously filed a workers’ compensation claim for advice, you may have more success by talking to a work injury lawyer who has years or decades of experience handling these types of cases.
Understanding Workers’ Compensation
Workers’ compensation is a type of insurance designed to protect the rights and financial health of workers who are injured on the job. Most employers in Virginia are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance and provide benefits when appropriate.
Furthermore, workers’ compensation is regulated by the state. When you file for workers’ compensation, you don’t just go through your employer and their insurance company. You must also inform the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission of your injury and what type of benefits you are requesting.
These benefits are designed to help you fully recover from your injury and avoid financial ruin while doing so. Workers’ compensation benefits cover:
- Medical costs
- Lost wages due to disability
- Death benefits, if applicable
These benefits are supposed to be easy to acquire for anyone injured at work, but that isn’t always the case.
Challenges Encountered in Workers’ Comp Cases
If obtaining benefits is supposed to be simple, why do so many people have difficulty getting them? Unfortunately, most employers and insurance companies don’t want to pay money if they can avoid it.
There are several ways that insurance companies can deny or undervalue a workers’ compensation claim. These are some of the most common ways an insurance company will try to deny or undervalue a claim:
- Claiming that an injury or illness was the result of an underlying/preexisting health condition
- Claiming that an accident didn’t occur while the employee was at the workplace or performing work functions
- Getting a doctor to provide an opinion that the extent of the injuries isn’t as significant as they are
- Claiming that you can return to work before a doctor says it is safe to do so
Additionally, the insurance company doesn’t have to outright deny a claim to effectively deny it. Many insurance companies will delay the process so long that you agree to a subpar settlement just to get any money.
Without a job injury lawyer representing you, it is hard to force the insurance company to act more quickly.
The Role of a Workplace Injury Lawyer
Because the insurance company and your employer have many reasons to violate your rights and almost no reason to treat you fairly, consider asking a workplace injury lawyer to represent you.
Even before the insurance company gets involved, a workplace injury lawyer can help. They know the process and will help you fill out all of the appropriate paperwork on time. Additionally, your lawyer can warn you against signing any documents that give up your rights.
Furthermore, your workplace injury lawyer can investigate your claim and collect evidence that supports your case. This investigation aims to prevent the insurance company from denying your claim and forcing you to deal with the convoluted and unpleasant appeal system.
Finally, if all else fails, your work injury lawyer can litigate a hearing on your behalf to get the workers’ compensation benefits you deserve. This is a worst-case scenario that most attorneys and their clients prefer to avoid due to the time and expense they require. Retaining a lawyer who can advocate for you to overcome defenses at a hearing will make the insurance company more likely to treat you fairly.
Can I Receive Workers’ Compensation if I Wasn’t at My Workplace When I Got Injured?
You might be eligible for workers’ compensation if you were injured while performing work activities away from the workplace. For example, if you perform deliveries for your employer, you are considered to be at work (even if you are driving your personal vehicle to perform those deliveries).
Similarly, if you are traveling for work for some reason, you are generally considered on the job, even if you’re in your hotel room outside of normal work hours.
Do I Have to Return to Work if My Employer Offers Me Lighter Workloads?
Your doctor will make the ultimate decision about whether you can return to work, how much work per day you can perform, and what types of activities you can perform. If your employer offers you work within the work restrictions your doctor provides, you must accept it.
Can I Still Get Compensation if I Am Doing Part-Time or Lighter Work for My Employer?
Compensation depends on how much money you were making before the injury and how much you make after. If you work fewer hours than you did before your injury but are still paid your pre-injury wages, you won’t get extra compensation. But if your pay is much lower, you can seek compensation to partially make up the difference.
Contact a Virginia Workplace Injury Lawyer at Commonwealth Law Group Today
If you were injured at the workplace in Virginia, you deserve compensation for your medical bills and lost wages. Unfortunately, there are many ways an insurance company or employer can deny your rights. Contact Commonwealth Law Group after a workplace injury to speak to a lawyer who can help you get the money you deserve.
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.