Virginia law requires employers with three or more employees to provide workers’ compensation coverage for on-the-job injuries. If you receive a workplace injury covered by the law, you are entitled to workers’ compensation. However, there are specific actions you must take to protect your rights and make certain that you receive workers’ compensation. If you fail to take the necessary steps, you could lose your right to compensation.
Here are the top five mistakes to avoid after a Virginia workplace injury.
Mistake #1: Failing to Get Immediate Medical Attention
After a work accident, you must follow an established process to make a workers’ compensation claim, but the most important immediate priority is getting medical attention for your injury. Even if you think the injury may not be serious, it’s critical to get a medical evaluation immediately after you receive a work injury. Obtaining a medical evaluation and diagnosis is an essential part of a successful Virginia workers’ compensation claim.
If you need emergency care, get the attention you require at the nearest medical facility. You do not need your employer’s permission for emergency medical care. If your injury does not require emergency treatment, ask your employer or their workers’ compensation insurance company for a list of at least three physicians where you can go for treatment. You are limited to the list provided by your employer or their insurance company. Make an appointment with the medical provider you choose. Be certain to tell them that you were injured in a work accident.
It’s a good idea to take photographs of your injuries immediately and over time. You also should keep a log detailing your injury and recovery, including pain, medication, and any medical issues. Also make notes about your activities, including any that you can no longer participate in. During recovery, follow your medical provider’s instructions carefully. Keep all appointments and follow up on all recommendations.
Mistake #2: Neglecting to Report the Accident Promptly
Another important step is reporting your accident and injury as soon as possible. The Virginia Workers’ Compensation Act had specific requirements that must be followed in reporting your injury. Generally, you have 30 days to report the injury to your employer. It is also good practice to document your reporting of the accident by text, email or in writing (make sure you keep a copy) so you can later prove when the accident was reported. You may be barred from receiving Workers’ Compensation benefits if you do not report your accident within 30 days. Make certain your report to your employer is as complete and accurate as possible.
You must notify specific people, including your supervisor, human resources department, and the owner of the company. Notifying a co-worker is not sufficient. In some cases, other specific notices are required. A workers’ compensation lawyer can help you make certain you make all the required notifications.
Mistake #3: Deciding Not to Talk with a Lawyer
One of the worst mistakes you can make is deciding to wait to talk with a workers’ compensation lawyer about your accident and workplace injury. Your lawyer helps you follow all the necessary steps that lead to you receiving compensation, including filing a Claim for Benefits with the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission. Having advice from a knowledgeable lawyer is the best strategy to ensure that you receive the compensation for medical expenses and lost wages that the law provides.
If the employer or insurance company disputes your accident or injuries, it’s essential to have legal representation. But even if the claim isn’t denied, a lawyer helps you process your claim to ensure you get the compensation you deserve. At Renfro & Renfro, our Virginia workers’ compensation lawyers do not charge for your first consultation, so you have nothing to lose by talking with us before you proceed.
Mistake #4. Talking with the Insurance Company
Another serious mistake you can make is talking with the insurance company before you consult with a workers’ compensation attorney. The insurance company is not on your side. Their goal is to avoid paying claims if possible. If you make statements to an insurance adjuster, those statements could harm your claim. If you try to negotiate a settlement on your own, you could end up hurting your chances of making a successful workers’ compensation claim.
Experienced workers’ compensation lawyers know how insurance companies work and how they handle workers’ comp claims. You should let your lawyer handle all the discussions and negotiations with the insurance company.
Mistake #5. Failing to Follow Medical and Legal Advice
To succeed in a workers’ compensation claim, you need to follow a lot of professional advice. First, you must carefully listen to your medical provider regarding the evaluation and diagnosis of your injuries. You need to follow through with all recommendations for medical treatment.
Equally important is listening to your lawyer’s advice. Your attorney makes sure you take all the necessary steps to file and follow up on your claim and protects your rights throughout the process. They can only do that if you follow the advice the lawyer gives you.
Schedule a Free Consultation with a Virginia Workers’ Compensation Attorney
If you received a workplace injury in an on-the-job accident, it’s important to reach out to a lawyer to make certain you receive the compensation you deserve. Our Richmond workers’ compensation lawyers at Renfro & Renfro are here to help you navigate through all the complex legal requirements of making a workers’ compensation claim. We welcome you to contact us for a free consultation.