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Many Virginia workers who get hurt or ill while on the job may be eligible for benefits under the Virginia Workers' Compensation Act. Employers with three or more employees must carry workers' compensation insurance on behalf of their employees.
Workers' compensation laws in Virginia cover many work-related illnesses and injuries. Insurance coverage extends to health conditions and accidental injuries that may gradually develop due to work-related tasks. Eligible injured workers may be entitled to compensation that covers damages, like medical treatment and lost wages, after sustaining work-related accidents.
Unfortunately, many workers don't know what to do after workplace injuries. They may wonder how long they have to report an injury at work in Virginia. If you find yourself in such a situation, you should consider speaking to a workers' compensation lawyer regarding the claims and compensation process.
The Reporting Process for a Job-Related Injury
If you are eligible for workers' compensation in Virginia, there are various things that you should keep in mind after being injured while at work. There are several steps that you can take to report injuries at work and strengthen your claim. If you are confused about how long you have to report an injury at work, you may seek reliable legal representation to understand the time limits that exist in Virginia.
But first, you must establish whether your injury qualifies as a workplace accident in Virginia before reporting it. For your injury to be considered a work-related injury, it must:
- Be due to a specific work activity
- Happen at the job site or during a work-related event
- Occur abruptly at a specific time
Here's the reporting process for workplace accidents and injuries.
Workplace Accident Occurs
Workplace accidents happen every day in Virginia and throughout the U.S. In 2020, employers in the private sector reported 2.7 million illness and injury cases, with roughly 544,600 cases being illness-related. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that roughly 1,176,340 of these cases forced workers to miss work for at least one day in 2020.
There are many reasons why workplace accidents occur, including:
- Poor housekeeping
- Worker overconfidence
- Poor lighting
- Ignoring safety procedures
- Using shortcuts
- Defective, faulty, or improperly maintained equipment
- Lack of protective gear
If you sustain a job injury, the first thing you should do is seek medical attention. Your health and well-being should come first after an injury.
Job Injury Is Reported and Brought to Employer in Writing
After a job injury has occurred and you've sought medical attention, report your work injury to your employer as soon as possible. Remember, insurance companies always look for reasons to deny or limit benefits for injured employees. For this reason, you shouldn't delay reporting your job-site injury.
If you cannot notify your employer, have a colleague, family member, friend, or your workers' compensation lawyer submit a letter notifying your employer about your injury. This letter may include:
- Your name, title, and contact details
- The date, time, and place of the workplace accident
- A description of the injuries you've sustained
- A brief account of what transpired
- Witness accounts
- Physical sensations like headaches or numbness that you may be feeling
You must submit this letter to your employer, supervisor, or the HR department. It's advisable that you get a receipt confirmation, proving that a company representative got your letter.
Workers' Compensation Claim Deadlines in Virginia
You must report your workplace injury to your employer within 30 days from the date of the accident. This window also applies for 30 days once your doctor informs you that you've sustained a workplace injury.
An employer must notify their insurer carrier about the injury as soon as an employee reports their injury. When employers record and/or report work-related injuries, they may conduct internal investigations into your work-related accident to ascertain what exactly happened.
Confused about how long you have to file a claim at the Workers' Compensation Commission (WCC)? A claim must be filed within two years from the date of the work-related accident. If you disregard this notice requirement, you may lose your right to benefits.
Compensation Benefits Allotted
If your employer, their insurer, or the WCC accepts your claim, you may receive compensation benefits that cover damages for your injury and other losses. These benefits include:
- Medical benefits for costs like doctor's visits, medical tests, physical therapy, prostheses, prescription drugs, and hospitalization
- Disability benefits for any temporary or permanent impairment
- Lost income benefits due to injury as well as recovery
- Vocational rehabilitation expenses to improve post-injury capabilities
- Death benefits covering up to $10,000 in burial expenses
Claim for Compensation Is Processed and Paid Out
The circumstances of your case, as well as evidence and sound legal advice, may play a critical role in the success of your claim. If your employer's insurer agrees to offer a fair settlement for your work-related injury, they will pay benefits that can help you get your life back on track.
What You Should Do if You're Denied Compensation for Your Work-Related Injury
Insurance companies don't accept all workers’ compensation claims. In fact, they'll look for any potential reason(s) to limit or deny your claim. If this is the case, you can schedule a hearing with the VWCC. A workers’ compensation lawyer can look into the facts to determine whether you have a case.
If you have a valid case, you may file an appeal that may go through four judicial stages:
- On-the-record or evidentiary hearing
- Full VWCC review
- Court of Appeals of Virginia
- Supreme Court of Virginia
You may also opt for mediation to resolve workers' comp disputes. The approach aims to speed up the resolution process by inviting a neutral third party to oversee talks. An employee, employer, insurance company, or healthcare provider may request mediation services to resolve disputed issues.
Seek Out a Workers’ Compensation Attorney Today
It is safe to assume that insurance companies have their best interests at heart. Their representatives are only concerned about protecting the bottom lines of their companies. If you find yourself questioning how long it takes to report an injury at work in Virginia, you should seek sound legal advice immediately.
An experienced workers' compensation lawyer may advise you regarding the statute of limitations for work-related accidents. They may also file records requests with the authorized treating physician and your employer to gather relevant evidence to help your case.
At Commonwealth Law Group, our legal team understands why filing your claim on time is critical. Contact us now to get started before it's too late.
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.