RICHMOND WORKERS’ COMPENSATION LAWYER
Strength to Injured Workers in Virginia
Workers’ compensation benefits can help injured employees get back on their feet after taking time off work. However, employers and insurers alike try to deter people from using workers’ compensation because it costs them money. If you need to file a claim, then you should expect some resistance.
Call our Richmond, Virginia workers’ compensation attorneys from Portner & Shure, P.A. to get your case started the right way. We have spent more than 25 years representing and litigating for the wrongfully injured of Virginia, including many, many people who were hurt during the course of their employment. We have also represented people from all industries, backgrounds, and communities, including local Korean, Vietnamese, Chinese (Mandarin and Cantonese), Hispanic, and Latin communities.
Choose legal champions who care. Contact us by dialing (804) 282-0011 now.
What is a Compensable Claim?
In order to have a viable workers’ compensation claim in Virginia, the injured worker must have been an employee. Virginia law classifies any individual that is employed part-time, seasonably, or even a trainee as an employee unless stated specifically otherwise as an independent contractor. For an employee to have a valid workers’ compensation claim, the employee must have performing an activity related to work when they were injured, sometimes only during work hours, too.
Common Injuries in Workers’ Comp Claims
Workers’ compensation claims arise from a variety of incidents and accidents that unfold every day in workplaces around Richmond, Virginia.
Some of these most common incidents include:
- Slip and falls
- Strains and sprains
- Repetitive stress injuries
- Falling objects
- Crashes and collisions
- Burns from fires or chemical exposure
Benefits Made Available to Injured Employees
The Workers’ Compensation Commission (WCC) provides several benefits to injured workers. Under Virginia law, employers with three or more employees are required to buy workers’ compensation insurance that can provide the necessary benefits as outlined by the WCC. The primary benefit available to injured workers is that workers’ compensation insurance must pay for their necessary medical expenses if those treatments are completed by an approved, in-network doctor.
Workers’ compensation insurance provides several other benefits including:
- Temporary partial disability benefits: If an injured worker is only able to return to work in a limited or reduced capacity, this benefit provides two-thirds of the difference between the worker’s pre-injury wages and the post-injury wage.
- Temporary total disability benefits: If an injured worker is unable to return to work, this benefit pays the injured worker two-thirds of their average weekly wage.
- Vocational rehabilitation: If an injured worker is unable to return to work, this benefit provides retraining and job placement services.
- Permanent partial disability benefits: When an injured worker reaches maximum medical improvement (MMI), this benefit provides a financial award based on the percentage that an injured worker is permanently impaired.
- Permanent total disability benefits: If an injured worker is totally disabled, this benefit provides lifetime weekly payments.
- Death benefits: This benefit provides funeral expenses and lifetime wage benefits the family of a deceased worker.
More Virginia Laws About Workers’ Comp
To qualify for benefits, injured workers must fulfill several legal requirements. The worker must report the injury to the employer within 30 days of the injury. A formal claim must be filed with the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission within two years of the injury. If an injured employee fails to file the claim within two years, they are forever barred from pursuing the claim.
Defenses Your Claim Might Encounter
Employers and insurance companies frequently invoke the defenses of willful misconduct and intoxication when defending workers’ compensation claims. Both defenses preclude an injured employee from making a claim if they are upheld in court. Willful misconduct is a defense in which the employer claims that the worker’s claim is barred because the worker failed to follow a rule and knowingly put themselves in unreasonable danger.
The elements of willful misconduct are:
- A reasonable safety rule existed
- The employee knew of the safety rule
- The rule was designed for the employee’s benefit
- The employee intentionally undertook the forbidden act
With regards to intoxication, this defense also bars a workers’ compensation claim if true. For an employer to succeed with this defense, they must prove that the worker was intoxicated at the time of the injury and that the intoxication caused their injury.
Appealing a Denied Workers' Comp Claim
If your workers' compensation claim has been denied in Richmond, Virginia, you have the right to appeal the decision. Here's what you need to know:
Reasons for Denial: Understand the reasons why your claim was denied. Virginia's workers' compensation system has strict requirements for eligibility, and your claim may have been denied for a variety of reasons. Common reasons for denial include a lack of evidence to support your claim, missed deadlines for filing the claim, or disputes over the cause or severity of your injury.
Deadlines: Be aware of the deadlines for filing an appeal. In Virginia, you have 30 days from the date of the denial to file an appeal. It's important to act quickly to ensure you don't miss this deadline.
Gather Evidence: Gather as much evidence as you can to support your claim. This may include medical records, witness statements, and other documentation related to your injury. You may also want to seek the opinion of an independent medical expert to support your claim.
Hire an Attorney: Consider hiring an experienced workers' compensation attorney in Richmond, Virginia to help you with your appeal. An attorney can help you navigate the complex appeals process, gather evidence, and present your case in the best possible light.
Mediation: Mediation may be an option to resolve the dispute between you and the insurance company. A neutral third-party mediator will work with both sides to try to reach a settlement agreement.
Hearing: If mediation doesn't resolve the dispute, your case will be scheduled for a hearing before a workers' compensation judge. At the hearing, both sides will present evidence and arguments to the judge, who will make a final decision on your claim.
Further Appeals: If you are still dissatisfied with the outcome of your appeal, you may be able to file additional appeals or take other legal actions to pursue your claim.
Appealing a denied workers' compensation claim in Richmond, Virginia can be a challenging and complex process. But with the right evidence, legal representation, and persistence, you can increase your chances of obtaining the compensation you deserve.
Choosing a Workers' Compensation Attorney
Choosing the right workers' compensation lawyer in Richmond, VA can be a daunting task. Here are some tips to help you make an informed decision:
Experience: Look for a lawyer who has extensive experience handling workers' compensation cases in Virginia. An attorney who is knowledgeable about the intricacies of Virginia's workers' compensation laws and regulations can help you navigate the claims process and increase your chances of obtaining a favorable outcome.
Reputation: Do your research to find out what others have to say about the lawyer you are considering. Check online reviews, testimonials, and ratings on legal directories to get a sense of the their reputation, both from previous clients as well as their standing in the legal community.
Communication: Choose an attorney who communicates well and is responsive to your questions and concerns. You want a lawyer who will keep you informed about the progress of your case and is available to answer your questions when you need them.
Personal attention: Look for a lawyer who will give your work injury case personal attention. You don't want to be just another case file. An attorney who takes the time to get to know you and your situation can better represent your interests and help you obtain the benefits you deserve.
Consultation: Schedule a consultation with the lawyer you are considering. This will give you the opportunity to ask questions, discuss your case, and get a sense of whether the lawyer is a good fit for you.
By following these tips, you can choose a workers' compensation lawyer in Richmond, VA who will provide you with the guidance, support, and representation you need to obtain the compensation you deserve.
Pick Us & Let Us Get to Work for You
You deserve to get your life back on track after a serious workplace injury, but a stubborn workers’ compensation company will make that difficult. Leave the legal fights up to Portner & Shure, P.A. Our team of Richmond workers’ comp lawyers is ready to stand up in your name, both in and out of court. We do not rest until our clients are given the best possible outcome.
Schedule a free consultation with our team by dialing (804) 282-0011.
“I highly recommend Portner & Shure for any legal issues! I had a worker’s comp case and I am more than satisfied with the outcome.”- Angelica H.
“Great firm! Would highly recommend Diane Lazo & Anna to represent you in a worker’s compensation accident. Great team!!”- Carlos G.
“After an on-the-job incident, I obtained the help of Portner & Shure to represent me. My assigned paralegal, Diane Lazo, went above and beyond to walk me through this process.”- Ashley W.
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When you hire Portner & Shure, you can expect more from your representation. In addition to getting an attorney, you will get a committed advocates you has your best interests at heart.