Employees in Virginia while doing their job duties can pursue workers’ compensation claims. Employers in the state must carry workers’ compensation insurance to make sure injured employees get reimbursement for their damages such as medical bills and lost wages. If you sustained a work injury, you may have questions regarding the workers’ comp system in the state. A workers compensation lawyer can help you understand how the system works and give you advice on what to do to get your claim approved.
Who is Eligible for Workers’ Compensation?
Generally, those hurt while doing their work as workers may be eligible for workers’ comp benefits. To be eligible, you must prove the following:
- The injury happened on the job or during a work-related activity. Injuries covered by workers’ comp are not limited to those that occur exactly in the workplace. They include those sustained during a work trip or while running a job errand.
- The injury resulted from a work activity or happened at a certain time. On-the-job accidents like tripping and falling are common examples. But injuries and illnesses do not always result from sudden accidents to be covered under workers’ compensation. For instance, firefighters who sustain injuries during a rescue operation would still qualify for compensation.
Additionally, you should check the eligibility of your employer and the legality of your employment. State law requires that employers who have more than 3 or more regular workers must have workers’ compensation insurance. Such insurance covers legally recruited workers. The law does not require independent contractors to be covered.
How to File a Workers’ Compensation Claim
After you get injured, report the accident and injury to your employer as soon as possible. Not reporting on time can result in the denial of your claim. You should be able to give your employer written notice within thirty days of your injury. Then, you must file a claim with the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission within two years of the injury.
Once your employer is notified, they should file a First Report of Injury with the Commission. In turn, the Commission will provide you with details on your rights and responsibilities as an injured worker. Your employer has twenty days to respond to your claim. If the Commission approves your claim, you will get an Award Agreement that you and your employer must sign. Then, you must file this Award to the Commission, so it can turn into an Award Order.