Once you’ve been hurt in a workplace accident or contracted an occupational illness, the medical costs start to mount. It’s even tougher when your physical condition makes it impossible for you to earn a living. At Hunter Law Firm, we are proven Virginia workers’ compensation lawyers with offices in Chesapeake, Hampton, Newport News and Gloucester. Wherever you are in the Hampton Roads area, we are ready to help you secure the benefits you’re entitled to and can answer pressing questions, such as:
Workers’ compensation coverage reimburses employees for their medical expenses and some of their lost wages. Along with doctors’ bills, workers’ comp can also cover ancillary healthcare costs, such as vocational rehabilitation sessions and transportation expenses associated with treatment and recovery. Unlike personal injury actions, workers’ compensation claims do not provide victims payment for noneconomic harm, such as the pain and suffering associated with an accident. You might be able to recover these damages if your on-the-job injury was caused by the negligence of a third party (not your employer or a co-worker).
No, you do not have to prove that your employer was negligent in order to receive workers’ compensation benefits. As long as you suffered the workplace injury or illness during the course of your regular job duties, you are eligible to receive payments. This accelerates the process by which an injured employee receives their benefits and avoids forcing the worker into a legal action where they must sue their employer.
When your work-related medical condition completely prevents you from doing your job, that is considered a total disability. Wage replacement for catastrophic injury victims and other total disability recipients is set at two-thirds of their regular income up to a maximum set annually by the state. In the event that you can still work on a limited basis after your job-related injury or illness, you could collect partial disability payments based on the percentage of time that you are able to work.
An employment-related injury or illness that prevents you from working for at least seven days qualifies you for temporary workers’ compensation until you return to work. However, in some cases, the victim never completely heals. At the point where someone who was hurt on the job reaches maximum medical improvement, they can receive permanent disability benefits if their physical condition still prevents them from doing their job or limits the amount of time they can work. Claimants with a condition that does not reach maximum medical improvement after 500 weeks can also seek permanent disability benefits.
Once you learn that you’re not getting the workers’ compensation payments you think you deserve, you should file a Claim for Benefits. Our firm can negotiate with the insurance company and will seek a hearing before the state’s Workers’ Compensation Commission if a suitable compromise cannot be reached. The initial hearing is conducted by a deputy commissioner and an appeal to the full commission is possible if the outcome is not what you seek. After that, some claims are brought before the Virginia Court of Appeals, with rare cases going to the Commonwealth’s Supreme Court.