Workers’ Compensation laws can vary from state to state, but there are some general guidelines you should be aware of. If you have questions about how Workers’ Compensation works in the state of Virginia, or if you are thinking about filing a claim, please contact HammondTownsend, your Workers’ Compensation lawyers.
Does Workers’ Comp Really Cover Everyone?
Workers’ Compensation is put in place to provide coverage for an employee should they experience an accident on the job or develop a disease caused by their work environment. Unfortunately, there are loopholes that fail to provide the same protection for everyone. For example, in Virginia, Workers’ Compensation fails to cover those who sustain an injury or disability that has developed over an extended period of time. This is especially true with jobs that require heavy lifting.
How Do I Ensure I Receive Compensation?
Even if you do experience a job-related injury or illness that qualifies for compensation, there are still steps you need to take to ensure you receive your entitled compensation. Many insurance providers that employers use for Workers’ Compensation only work within a specific network of doctors and hospitals. If your injury is an emergency that requires an ambulance, then you will go where the ambulance takes you. Be sure to insist that your employer provides you with a panel of at least three physicians which are qualified to treat you.
When visiting with the doctor, be sure to disclose that your injury or illness was caused by an incident in the workplace while you were on the job. This includes when you are filling out the required paperwork regarding your visit. By disclosing your work-related injury on your paperwork, you are simplifying the billing process. In most cases, your employer or the workers’ compensation insurance will get the bill for your visit and treatment when you fill out the paperwork appropriately.
Your employer will also require paperwork to document the accident. Sometimes, these reports are completed immediately after the accident. If you can contact a Workers’ Compensation attorney before filing your claim, then you’ll be better protected and more likely to receive the benefits and coverage that you deserve.
Familiarize Yourself with Your Employer’s Workers’ Compensation
Possibly the worst thing you can do as an employee is assume that you are completely covered from injury or illness while in the workplace. Ask your employer for a copy of their Workers’ Compensation coverage plan. Most employers will have a brochure with details about the coverage offered to you and information regarding the state’s Workers’ Compensation laws.
It would also be wise to learn more about how Workers’ Compensation works in your state, which you can find at the The Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission.
Are You Covered Even If You’re At Fault?
Again, these details can vary greatly from state to state, but generally speaking, Workers’ Compensation is no-fault insurance. Unless you are involved in completely inappropriate horseplay at work, or you willingly and knowingly violated a safety rule, then you should still be entitled to some coverage, even if the injury was your fault. If you’re under the influence of other substances, such as alcohol, then you are less likely to receive any benefits. Again, this is another reason to familiarize yourself with your state’s Workers’ Compensation laws and the coverage that your employer offers.
Hire An Attorney To Get What You’re Owed
Since these laws are extremely complicated, it is wise that you work with a Workers’ Compensation attorney to get the most out of your claim. Sure, Workers’ Comp is meant to help you as the employee, but too often these cases favor the employer or the insurance company. An attorney who is experienced with these types of cases and claims knows your state’s laws inside and out, and is well-prepared to help you get the benefits and coverage that you are entitled to.