Annually, the US private industry witnesses over 2 million nonfatal workplace injuries. Workers’ compensation steps in to guarantee medical care and financial support for injured or ill employees during their recovery. Understanding your rights under workers’ compensation makes it easier to file a claim and pursue your rightful benefits.
Know Your Rights in a Workers’ Compensation Case
The experienced workers’ compensation attorneys at Renfro & Renfro, PLLC explain your rights in a work-related injury claim and the action you should take to get full benefits for your damages. We have helped thousands of injured workers like you maximize their compensation. We can guide you through the entire claim process and ensure your rights are protected.
Right to File a Claim
One of the most vital rights under the workers’ compensation program is the right to file a claim after sustaining a work-related illness or injury. To ensure a smooth legal process, it is important that you document every step of your injuries, and this begins with telling your employer about the injuries. Generally, the law requires you to report work-related injuries to your employer within 30 days of the accident. But as a practical matter, you should report the injury as soon as possible. Failure to report your injury within the 30 day period usually results in your claim being denied, unless there is an applicable exception under Virginia law.
Right to Medical Treatment
If you have been injured at work, your employer must provide you with appropriate medical treatment. This may include doctor’s visits, hospital stays, medical procedures, prescription medications, and other medical services related to your injury or illness. It is vital to keep track of all medical expenses related to your injury to make it easier to quantify your claim. Generally, your workers’ comp benefits include coverage for medical care, lost wages, and vocational rehabilitation.
Right to Compensation for Time Missed From Work
If your injury temporarily prevents you from being able to perform your work duties, you have a right to temporary wage loss benefits. The benefits compensate for a portion of your lost wages during your days out of work.
In some scenarios, you could also be eligible for permanent disability benefits if the injury is too severe to prevent you from returning to work (i.e., a brain injury or serious injury to two extremities). The compensation may include vocational rehabilitation benefits to help you acquire the training you need to work in a new capacity.
Right to Appeal
If your claim is denied by the workers comp insurance company for any reason, you have a right to appeal that decision by filing a Claim for Benefits and starting the litigation process. Litigation involves a formal court hearing before a Deputy Commissioner (a workers’ compensation judge). It is imperative that you seek the guidance of an experienced lawyer during the litigation process because there are many pitfalls for people unfamiliar with Virginia law and the Rules of the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission. You should also remember that filing a claim for benefits filing deadlines you must meet or your claim will be denied. The workers’ comp attorneys at Renfro & Renfro, PLLC can handle all the legalities of your case to ensure you receive justice.
Right to File a Complaint against OSHA
By law, your employer is mandated to provide a safe workplace free from any known hazards. This may include providing proper training, safety equipment, and protocols that minimize risks of accidents and injuries. If you believe unsafe working conditions triggered your injury, you are eligible to file a complaint with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). OSHA will undertake independent investigations into the incident and ascertain whether any safety violations occurred.
Protection from Retaliation
Virginia laws prohibit your employer from retaliating against you for filing a workers’ compensation claim. Retaliation could be any act designed to punish an employee for engaging in protected activities, including reporting workplace safety violations or filing a workers’ compensation claim. This means your employer cannot fire, demote, or otherwise discriminate against you for seeking benefits.
Contact Richmond, Virginia, Workers’ Compensation Lawyers
Understanding your rights as an injured employee is crucial to maximizing your workers’ compensation benefits. Remember, there are many complexities in Virginia workers comp claims and it is important to have a knowledgeable advocate fighting for you.
The experienced workers’ compensation attorneys at Renfro & Renfro, PLLC are ready to handle all the legal complexities of your case so you get ample time to rest and recuperate. Our goal is to maximize the benefits for our clients. Give us a call at (804) 601-4433 or contact us online for a free consultation. Let our team guide you through your claim and help you receive the compensation you deserve.
We look forward to serving you!