If you receive injuries in a workplace accident covered by Virginia workers’ comp laws, the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Act determines the compensation that you receive for your injuries. The statute places limits on the amount and duration of benefits for an on-the-job injury. It’s important to understand those limitations when you make a workers’ compensation claim.
Workers’ compensation provides medical benefits for workplace injuries for the duration of the worker’s life. The benefits are provided through the employer’s insurance carrier and include payment of authorized medically necessary care and treatment, including hospitalization, physician visits, medical tests, prescription drugs, physical therapy, and prostheses.
Compensation covers a primary doctor as well as specialists when medically necessary. Benefits also include mileage reimbursement for travel to and from authorized doctors. For the last six months of 2022, the reimbursement rate is $0.625.
Wage Loss Benefits
Generally, under the Act, the maximum time period for which benefits are payable is 500 weeks, but there are limited exceptions for certain types of injuries. The number of weeks of benefits in a specific case depends on whether the worker receives benefits for temporary partial disability, temporary total disability, permanent partial disability, or permanent total disability. No lost wages are paid for the first seven days after a workplace accident unless the incapacity from the accident continues for a period of more than 21 days.
Regarding the wage loss benefit limitations, it’s important to keep in mind that a worker and the employer’s insurance company may negotiate a settlement (sometimes as a lump sum) of the worker’s claim. A worker considering settlement should talk with a knowledgeable workers’ compensation attorney before agreeing to any settlement proposal from the insurance company.
The maximum amount of workers’ compensation an injured employee can receive for a workplace injury is the lower amount of either two-thirds (66-2/3%) of the worker’s pre-injury average weekly wage or the maximum benefit for the year of the injury. The maximum benefit is established annually pursuant to the statute. For 2022, the weekly maximum benefit is $1,290 (plus a cost-of-living adjustment of 7.4% on October 1, 2022) or 66-2/3% of the worker’s average weekly wage, whichever is lower.
Calculating your average weekly wage involves a complex analysis, because the computation involves more than just your base wages. Talking with an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer is the best way to determine the exact amount of your average weekly wage as well as the amount of your workers’ comp benefit entitlement, which may involve consideration of more than your average weekly wage.
There is also a minimum weekly workers’ compensation payment established under the law. For 2022, the minimum is $322.50, plus a COLA of 7.4% on October 1, 2022).
If a work-related accident results in a worker’s death, workers’ compensation pays burial expenses up to $10,000 and reasonable transportation expenses up to $1,000. In addition, dependents of the worker may receive wage replacement compensation if specific requirements are met.
If you lose a loved one due to a workplace accident, talking with a workers’ compensation attorney is the best approach to ensuring that you receive the full death benefits provided by the law. If you negotiate on your own with the employer’s insurance company, you may well receive less than full compensation. At Renfro & Renfro, we never charge for an initial consultation, so you should not hesitate to contact us if your loved one passed away after an on-the-job injury.
Calculating Your Workers’ Compensation Benefits
While the information in this discussion provides general guidelines about workers’ compensation benefits, calculating an injured worker’s benefits in a particular case often requires analyzing a significant amount of information, including wage history and medical records. There are many nuances that can affect the amount of compensation the worker receives and the amount of a settlement an insurance company may be willing to pay.
If you suffer a work injury, you should concentrate on recovering and receiving necessary treatment. Trying to determine your compensation on your own can be a bewildering and unproductive task that can easily distract you from what should be your priority. When you get assistance from our workers’ compensation lawyers at Renfro & Renfro, we shoulder as much of the burden as possible in determining your benefits and compensation. We always work hard to get the full compensation the law provides for you. And we never charge for your initial consultation.
Schedule a Free Consultation with Our Virginia Workers’ Compensation Attorneys
If you receive an injury on the job, it’s important to ensure that you receive the maximum benefits available under Virginia workers’ compensation law. You can count on our experienced workers’ compensation attorneys to make certain that you receive the full amount you deserve. We welcome you to call us at (804) 601-4433 or contact us online for a free consultation.