In Virginia, more than 200,000 workers are injured in some kind of work-related accident each year. Workers compensation is a system that allows workers who get hurt in work-related accidents to make claims for payment without having to file personal injury lawsuits. Employers can either buy workers compensation insurance or get approval from the state to be self-insured to cover employees in the event of an injury.
Workers compensation is a no-fault system. The worker doesn’t have to prove the employer was negligent to make a workers’ compensation claim; and a worker can make a claim even if he or she was negligent in some way and that negligence contributed to the injury. As long as the person suffered a type of work-related injury covered by the Workers Compensation Act, he or she can make a claim. Generally speaking, covered injuries are those that:
• Arise from the employment — Injuries must be a direct result of danger or risk of the employment and must be job-related.
• In the course of employment — Injuries have to happen while the employee is working, at a location the employee is at because of his or her employment, and under circumstances required by the employment.
When a claim is approved, available benefits can take a number of forms in Virginia. Workers compensation claims can cover: medical care related to the injury, temporary or partial disability benefits when the injury leaves you unable to work or light duty work for a period of time, disability benefits if you are either permanently unable to work or have some permanent disability or disfigurement but can work, vocational rehabilitation benefits, and/or death benefits for family members of workers who are killed in work-related accidents.
The Workers’ Compensation laws in Virginia are extremely complicated, and often times injured workers who are inexperienced at handling workers’ comp claims miss key information that leads to missing-out on their rightful restitution. Workers who are seriously injured can make mistakes costing them thousands of dollars when settling their claim. This also applies to active military in the state of Virginia. Put our experience to work for you to avoid having your claim delayed or denied.
Of the 10 most common injuries on the job, the majority are those random incidents that can happen to anyone and at any time. Not only is it the employer’s responsibility to ensure a safe work environment, but each employee also has a responsibility to themselves to take caution when on the job.
In the event of an accident there are several things to remember:
• Overexertion Injuries – This includes injuries related to pulling, lifting, pushing, holding, carrying, and throwing activities at work. Overexertion has consistently been the number one workplace injury, and is also the most expensive.
• Slipping/Tripping – Call 911 if there are any injuries. This pertains to falls on wet and slippery floors or tripping over san object lying on the floor. Attention to what is going on around them is required of employees and employers will have safety guidelines to ensure spills are promptly cleaned and no debris is present which can be dangerous.
• Falling from Heights – This type of fall happens from an elevated area such as roofs, ladders, and stairways. They can be caused by slip and fall accidents or due to faulty equipment. These types of accidents can be reduced by the use of proper personal protection gear, training and employee diligence.
• Reaction Injuries – These are injuries caused by slipping and tripping without falling. These incidents can cause muscle injuries, body trauma, and a variety of other medical issues. It can be hard to prevent such incidents, but it is important for employees to pay attention to what is going on in the environment around them
• Falling Object Injuries – Objects that fall from shelves or dropped by another person can cause very serious injuries. Head injuries are a common result of this type of accident. Employee’s diligence and employer focus on keeping the work environment free from hazards are key to preventing these types of injuries. Of course, proper personal protection gear usage, such as a hard hat, can be instrumental in keeping the employee safe.
• Walking Into Injuries – This happens when a person accidentally runs into an object such as a wall, door, cabinet, glass window, table, chair etc. Head, knee, neck, and foot injuries are common results. Employee’s diligence and employer focus on keeping the work environment free from hazards are key to preventing these types of injuries.
• Vehicle Accidents – Employees who drive for business purposes are often injured in auto accidents, some of which can be fatal. Employee safe driver training and employer safe driving policies are likely to reduce accidents.
• Machine Entanglement – This type of injury usually occurs in a factory where heavy equipment and machinery are used. Clothing, shoes, fingers and hair are often slip into equipment when no precaution is taken. Protective equipment and attention to personal details are necessary to avoid these incidents.
• Repetitive Motion Injuries – This type of workplace injury is one of those less obvious but definitely harmful in the long run injuries. Repetitive motions such as typing and using the computer can strain muscles and tendons causing back pain, vision problems, and carpal tunnel syndrome. Employee training and the use of proper ergonomic equipment can help keep these incidents low.
• On the Job Violent Acts – Attacks caused by office politics and other arguments have led to serious physical injuries. Workplace violence employee training and employee diligence in watching out for suspicious activities can help keep these incidents at bay.
I didn’t report my injury the day it happened, so I am not eligible for Workers’ Compensation benefits? In the State of Virginia, you can be covered by workers compensation benefits as long as the injury is reported to the employer within 30 days of the accident.
The injury was partly my fault, so I can’t get worker compensation benefits. Workers compensation is a no fault process and it doesn’t matter who is at fault for the accident as long as the injury is work related.
I was at work while I was injured, so I’m covered. Your injury must be work related in order to be covered. If you trip over your own feet or have a heart attack during work hours, simply being at work does not mean you are covered. Virginia requires that there is some link between your work and your injury in order for you to receive benefits.
My employer’s negligence caused my injury, I’m going to sue my employer! In Virginia, you are entitled to workers compensation benefits for a work accident injury but you cannot sue your employer because you got injured at work. Workers compensation insurance is a “no fault” system.
I have a pre-existing injury, so I can’t get workers compensation benefits. If your work injury aggravated a prior medical condition, your injuries are covered by workers compensation. However, there are stipulations, so be sure to contact a Workers’ Compensation attorney.
The insurance company is paying my medical bills, so I’m covered. The ONLY way to ensure you are protected against the 2-year Statute of Limitations is to file your claim for benefits form with the Virginia Workers Compensation Commission and get an award for lifetime medical benefits.
The insurance adjuster is looking out for me. The insurance adjuster is an agent of the insurance company and their job is to save the insurance company money. The sad truth is that insurance companies want to save money and they do this by not paying all workers’ compensation claims. Be very careful who you put your trust in!
The Virginia Workers Compensation Commission is looking out for me. The Virginia Workers Compensation Commission is an impartial judicial system. Their job is to process your claim paperwork and, if you go to a hearing; the Deputy Commissioner will hear the testimony, review the evidence, then make a determination on benefits based on current Virginia law.
I’m a good worker, so my employer will take care of me. The insurance company makes the determination about your benefits and, in order to get workers compensation, you have to meet the laws set forth by the Virginia State Legislature. Being a great (or horrible) employee is NOT a factor in determining benefits.
The sad truth is that there is a lot of bad information out there and, if an injured worker gets the wrong information, the consequences can be devastating. Make sure you know what is fact and what is fiction! Hiring an experienced Workers’ Compensation attorney will help you determine the compensation for your workplace injury.
Even though workers compensation claims don’t typically involve lawsuits or courts, there is a specific legal process involved in making a claim. There may be an opportunity to settle a claim with your employer, and an experienced workers compensation attorney can help ensure you get the best possible settlement. If you try to go it alone, you may end up with less than you deserve.
Sometimes your work-related injury will involve a third party who is not your employer, and you may have the option to pursue a claim against that third party in a civil court. An attorney experienced with personal injury and workers compensation claims can discuss with you whether you might have a claim against someone other than your employer.
We are on your side throughout the entire workers’ compensation claim process and will make sure that you achieve the best possible outcome for your workplace injuries. We aim to maximize your compensation so you can heal without worry.
Our office is dedicated. Unlike many law firms, we answer our own phones and you will always be able to speak with someone at our firm who is knowledgeable about your case. We won’t make you jump through hoops to understand what’s going on. We know that this is likely your first experience dealing with workers’ compensation injury process, and we want to make this as simple and straightforward as possible. Call Attorney Feinman at 1-800-525-5060 or fill out our free consultation form.