If you’re injured in a work accident in Virginia, you probably know that workers’ compensation insurance provides compensation for most on-the-job injuries. But you may not realize that you must take steps to protect your rights and maximize your compensation. Getting help from an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer is the best way to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.
Get Medical Care Immediately
After a work accident, the immediate priority is getting professional medical treatment for your injury. To protect your workers’ compensation rights, you should seek medical care as soon as possible after the accident.
If the injury is serious and requires emergency care, you should go to the nearest emergency facility. You do not need your employer’s permission to seek emergency treatment. Be certain to tell the treating professionals that you received the injury in a work accident.
If the injury does not require immediate treatment, ask your employer to provide you with a panel of physicians that you may go to for treatment. You must choose from the list for your medical bills to be covered by workers’ compensation insurance. If you go to an unauthorized medical provider, your employer may refuse to pay the medical bills from the provider.
You should get medical care as soon as possible after a work accident. If you delay seeking treatment, you may jeopardize your ability to receive workers’ comp benefits. It is essential to document your injuries through medical records and to get proper diagnosis and treatment. Failing to get a diagnosis and treatment can affect your compensation and benefits.
Notify Your Employer of the Accident
After a work accident, you should notify your supervisor or manager about the accident and injury. You should tell your co-workers as well. If your employer has a notification protocol in place, you should make certain to follow it and provide all required notices.
Under the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Act and regulations of the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission, you have only 30 days to provide written notice of the accident and injury to your employer. You should give notice immediately after the accident, as soon as you are able to do so. You may lose benefits if you fail to provide the written notice within the required time.
Be very careful and thorough when you complete the work accident report for your employer. Make certain all the details are correct. If you provide erroneous information or omit important details, it could affect your ability to receive compensation. You should ask for and keep a signed copy of the paperwork you and your employer fill out after the accident.
Your employer must file a report with the Commission after an employee provides notice of a workplace injury. However, the employer’s report does not protect your rights to compensation and benefits. You must file a Claim for Benefits with the Commission yourself to protect your rights.
File a Claim for Benefits
Virginia law requires an injured worker to file a Claim for Benefits with the Workers’ Compensation Commission within two years after an accident. However, you should file the claim as soon as possible, rather than waiting until a later time. In many cases, it’s a good idea to get help from a workers’ compensation lawyer in preparing and filing the claim. Legal representation is particularly recommended if your injuries are serious and are likely to have long-term effects.
Filing the Claim for Benefits starts the Commission process for addressing your compensation and benefits. Your employer’s insurance company will also conduct an investigation of the accident and injuries, to determine their response to your benefits claim.
Navigate the Workers’ Compensation Process
In the weeks and months ahead, you will need to navigate through the Virginia workers’ compensation process. There are many issues that can arise along the way. A knowledgeable workers’ compensation lawyer can help you ensure that you get the full benefits provided by the law. At Renfro & Renfro, your initial consultation is always free of charge, so you can talk with us about your case without any cost or obligation. We encourage you to reach out to us if you have any questions about your work injury, claim for benefits, or the workers’ compensation process.
While the process takes place, you should make certain that you follow the advice of your treating physician(s) to recover as quickly and fully as possible. One advantage of getting help from a lawyer is that you can focus on your recovery, rather than worrying about the benefits process.
You may need to complete certain examinations and evaluations as part of the process. When that is necessary, you should comply with the requirements and take all the steps that are part of the workers’ compensation process. If you have questions about notices you receive, you can talk to your lawyer to make sure that the requests are a legitimate part of the process. Your attorney can also help you prepare for evaluations and examinations and learn how to navigate through the processes.
Schedule a Free Consultation with our Virginia Workers’ Compensation Attorneys
If you received an injury at work and do not have legal representation, our experienced Virginia workers’ compensation attorneys at Renfro & Renfro are here to help. We assist injured workers with every step of the claim process. We welcome you to call us at (804) 601-4433 or contact us online for a free consultation.