Unfortunately, many Virginia employees are injured in workplace accidents. The latest workplace injury figures show that there were 2.2 million workplace injuries in 2021. This means that millions of families were impacted by the effects of injuries sustained in the workplace.
There’s no denying that these injuries can have a devastating impact on the lives of employees. Aside from the physical impact of a workplace injury, there’s also the psychological effects to consider. This trauma can last far longer than the physical injury. On a practical level, a workplace injury can cause severe financial problems, through loss of the injured person’s income.
In most cases, employees in Virginia will apply for workers’ compensation if they have been injured while doing their job. If they follow the correct procedures, injured employees in Virginia are often entitled to certain benefits provided to ease the burden of being injured and unable to work.
Getting injured and then applying for compensation benefits sounds easy, right? But what happens if you think you could be to blame for the workplace injury? Here, we’ll explain what to expect if you believe it’s possible you’re to blame for a workplace injury.
Next Steps: What Happens if You’re to Blame for a Workplace Injury
Feeling you’re responsible for an accident at work is a truly stressful experience. If you were injured at work as a result of your own actions, you may be even more concerned about what happens next. Will you still receive compensation if you’re to blame is probably your biggest concern.
Consult With a Lawyer
Understanding your rights in this situation can be super confusing. So, it’s vital to seek legal advice and to do it fast.
The interpretation of the law is very important in these cases, so you’ll need a trusted lawyer who can walk you through it. Chapter 3 § 65.2-306 of the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Act states the reasons when workers in Virginia will not be allowed to claim compensation for injury or death and emphasizes the burden of proof.
The Act states that compensation won’t be granted if any of the following apply:
- The injury was caused by willful misconduct or intentional self-inflicted injury;
- The employee deliberately attempted to injure another person;
- The employee was intoxicated;
- The employee willfully failed or refused to use a safety appliance or perform a duty required by statute;
- The employee willfully breached any reasonable rule or regulation adopted by the employer and brought, prior to the accident, to the knowledge of the employee; or
- The employee used a non-prescribed controlled substance.
When making your compensation claim, the insurance company will investigate your actions and how they led to the injury taking place. Even if your actions did cause the injury, there are defenses available to you against that allegation. You must contact an experienced Virginia workers’ compensation attorney to see how your actions affect your case.
Navigating the Claims Process
If you wish to claim compensation under the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Act, you’ll need to notify your employer of your injury within 30 days of the accident. Your employer will likely carry out an investigation into what has happened.
You will also have two years from the time of the incident to file a claim form directly with the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Act.
If your compensation claim is denied, you have the option of requesting a hearing. Keep in mind that your employer will be represented by an attorney throughout all proceedings. So, if you don’t appoint an experienced attorney to represent you, you will be at a disadvantage.
You may be required to provide a deposition. This means you will need to answer questions from the defense attorney under oath. The answers to these questions will be used against you by the defense and the insurance company during the hearing. This makes having the correct legal representation even more vital.
Here’s what to expect during the proceedings:
- You will receive a notice of hearing.
- The Commissioner will receive and review supporting evidence, such as medical reports and witness testimonies, before making their decision.
- The hearing will be held.
- The claim decision will be rendered in writing after the hearing.
If you’re not happy with the result of the hearing, you have 30 days to apply to a higher court to request a case review.
Contact an Experienced Workplace Injury Lawyer Today
Being injured in the workplace is a traumatic experience, but worrying you’re to blame can make matters even worse. As trusted workers’ compensation lawyers, you can depend on us to help you in this challenging situation.
Our experienced workplace injury lawyers at Renfro & Renfro will guide you through your responsibilities and rights in this situation to help you achieve the best possible outcome for your case. Contact us today by calling (804) 601-4433 or contact us online.