If, like most people, you haven’t been through a worker’s compensation case before, you may not know what to expect. We’ve broken down the general steps for you. Each case is specific and your case may not follow this exact pattern.
First, you’ll tell your employer, tell a doctor, and call HammondTownsend. The following steps happen after you have retained HammondTownsend to be your legal representatives. See the blog post Frequently Asked Questions about Working with HammondTownsend for more information about this process.
Steps of the Case
1. HammondTownsend files the claim for benefits to the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission (VWCC). In this first claim, all types of benefits are claimed from the date of injury forward, so that no potential benefits are given up.
2. The VWCC will issue a twenty (20) day order to the worker’s compensation insurance company, who work for the employer of the injured worker. The insurance company has 20 days to make a decision if they are accepting or denying the claim for benefits for the injured worker.
3. If the insurance company denies the claim, the attorney from the insurance company may depose you. You may also have to answer written questions about the situation. A deposition is a formal statement you make under oath that will later be used in a legal case.
4. HammondTownsend prepares for the evidentiary hearing by filing your medical records with the VWCC and determines the specific benefits you are entitled to that your attorney will request.
5. Usually, the commission holds an evidentiary hearing where both sides give information. The deputy commissioner from the VWCC acts as a judge, and provides a written decision a few days to a few months later – no decision is given on the day of the evidentiary hearing.
6. Sometimes, instead of an evidentiary hearing, you and the insurance company may go in front of the alternate dispute resolution department and work to reach an agreement; if an agreement is not reached, you go ahead with the evidentiary hearing.
7. If the deputy commissioner decides in your favor, you win and receive the benefits from the insurance company.
8. If the deputy commissioner decides against you, you lose. If you are denied, your attorney can file an appeal, called a request for review, if he feels an appeal is warranted based on the reasons behind the loss.
9. The appeal is done by a panel of three (3) Commissioners, instead of just the one (1) who made the original decision. The appeals process is usually done entirely using written material with no evidentiary hearing; however, an oral argument is an option that either side can ask for. Most of the time the request to have an oral argument is denied and the oral argument is not allowed, but very infrequently an oral argument is allowed. If the oral argument is allowed, you and your attorney and the insurance company will go to the oral argument hearing before the three (3) Commissioners. In the oral argument, your attorney and the insurance company will both talk in front of the Commissioners, who are allowed to ask them questions about the case.
10. The appeals process can go up a few different levels, depending on the outcomes.
HammondTownsend will be with you through all the steps of the worker’s comp claim process. Call 888-580-9048 for a free consultation today.