VIENNA WORKERS’ COMPENSATION LAWYERS
Workplace Injury Claim Filings & Denials
In the past, workers who suffered injuries at work would need to sue their employers. Winning these lawsuits was extremely difficult, if not impossible, due to an employer’s greater resources and the typical lack of evidence regarding how a workplace accident happened. In response to this issue, many states created workers’ compensation systems that allow workers access to financial benefits after a workplace accident, regardless of how it occurred.
The laws regarding workers’ compensation claims in Virginia can provide workers with much needed medical care and a portion of their average wages if they can navigate the legalese and pursue a claim correctly. To get your claim moving in the right direction, you should talk to a knowledgeable Vienna, Virginia workers’ compensation attorney from Portner & Shure, P.A. For more than 25 years, we have been there for workers from all walks of life and in all industries. Let us stand by your side, too.
Call (855) 954-4141 to discuss the key details of your workers’ comp case today.
What is a Compensable Claim?
For a workers’ compensation claim to be successful, it needs to be considered a “compensable claim.”
The elements of a compensable claim are:
- Performing an activity related to work;
- Suffering an injury at a specified time; or
- Suffering an injury during work hours or during an approved time
Additionally, an injured worker can make a claim if they were an “employee.” Under Virginia law, an employee includes anyone who is full-time employed, part-time employed, seasonally employed, a minor, or a trainee.
Common Injuries in the Workplace
Workplace injuries are very common. The resulting injuries can range from minor to severe.
Common injuries giving rise to workers’ comp claims include:
- Slip and falls
- Repetitive stress injuries
- Falling objects
- Crashes and collisions
- Burns from fires or chemical exposure
Benefits Available to Injured Workers
Most employers in Virginia are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance that covers eligible employees. The main benefit that this insurance provides is the payment of medical expenses. An injured worker is entitled to payment of all authorized and necessary medical treatments. The one caveat with regards to medical treatment is that an injured worker is limited to seeking medical treatment from a list of doctors authorized by the employer.
Several other types of benefits are available:
- Temporary partial disability benefits provide financial compensation if an injured worker returns to work in a limited capacity or with reduced hours. This benefit provides two-thirds of the difference between the pre-injury wages and the post-injury wages
- Temporary total disability benefits provide financial compensation if an injured worker is unable to return to work. This benefit provides two-thirds of the injured worker’s average weekly wage.
- Vocational rehabilitation is a benefit available to injured workers if they are unable to return to work. This benefit provides retraining and job placement services.
- Permanent partial disability benefits are available to injured workers after they reach maximum medical improvement (MMI). This benefit provides a financial award based on a percentage that an injured worker is permanently impaired.
- Permanent total disability benefits are available to injured workers if they are totally disabled. This benefit provides lifetime weekly payments.
- Death benefits are available to the family of injured workers. This benefit provides funeral expenses and lifetime wage benefits.
Virginia Laws About Workers’ Compensation
Virginia law requires an injured worker to report their injury to their employer within 30 days following the injury. Additionally, a claim must be made within 2 years to the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission or the injured worker is forever barred from pursuing the claim. Finally, the injured worker may not have been engaged in willful misconduct or have been intoxicated at the time of their accident.
How Insurance Companies Try to Fight Workers’ Comp Claims
Two commonly asserted defenses are willful misconduct and intoxication. Willful misconduct precludes an injured worker from making a claim. The most common method for raising this defense is for an employer to claim that the injured worker knowingly broke a workplace rule that would put them in danger.
The elements of this defense are:
- Safety rule was reasonable;
- Safety rule was known to the employee;
- Safety rule was for the injured employee’s benefit; and,
- Employee intentionally undertook the forbidden act.
Along with willful misconduct, intoxication is another frequently raised defense. If an employer can prove that the injured worker was intoxicated at the time of the injury and that the intoxication resulted in their injury, the injured worker is precluded from making a claim. The same can be true if the worker is found to have been impaired by an illegal narcotic.
Our Legal Services are Top of the Line
Working with our Vienna, Virginia workers’ compensation attorneys in the early stages of your claim allows our attorneys to ensure that your case runs smoothly. We will work diligently to make certain you are informed as your case moves along. Ultimately, our goal is securing all the benefits to which you are entitled, even if that means pursuing litigation in your name.
To schedule a free consultation, contact us at (703) 291-3263 or contact us online.
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