Workers’ compensation benefits have become an important facet of many jobs. An employer is required to provide workers’ compensation coverage if they have three or more employees who regularly work for them. This does not include any independent contractors who might also work with the employer. Because workplace injuries are an unfamiliar event for many people, there are several important things you need to know if you plan on filing a workers’ compensation claim in Chesterfield County. A dedicated workers’ comp attorney could assist you in your case to recover damages following a workplace accident.
In Chesterfield County, the most important thing for someone to do after an injury arises out of employment is to report the accident and begin the workers’ comp claim process. An employee has 30 days to report the accident to their employer, although it is in their best interest to file as soon as possible. The report does not have to be in writing but a written notice is highly recommended because it provides proof that their supervisor was alerted.
The employee should then seek medical treatment, tell the doctor how the accident happened, and get a disability slip from the doctor which states whether or not they could still work. If there were witnesses to the accident, the employee should talk to those individuals and find out what they observed.
Not everybody who gets hurt at work has a viable workers’ compensation case. If there is some confusion about what could be considered a work-related injury, a local attorney could provide guidance on how it should be categorized.
There is no designated individual within a company who alerts or advises a person to file a workers’ comp claim. Employers are not legally obligated to inform them of that right, and few of them do. The employer does, however, have the obligation to report any injury to the Virginia Workers’ Comp Commission (VWCC). The VWCC then mails a notice to the employee, advising them of their rights and responsibilities in filing a claim. It is a good idea to seek an attorney who could better explain an individual’s rights and responsibilities.
To file a worker’s comp claim, a person needs to complete the claim form, which can be found online. It could also be obtained in person at one of several VWCC offices around the Commonwealth. The injured worker could either complete this form electronically or fill it out by hand.
The form has various sections for explaining how the accident happened, including pre-injury conditions, the employee’s average weekly wage, and what exactly it is that they are seeking in damages. Once completed, an injured party could submit this claim electronically, faxed, mailed, or delivered in person to the VWCC.
The employee needs to make sure that they are listing all of the injuries that they sustained during the accident, so that the maximum amount of damages can be sought. They also need to list all of the dates for which they are seeking compensation and provide an accurate description of how the accident occurred. It is a good idea for an injured worker to speak to an experienced attorney before filling out this form.
Injured workers should not assume that their employer will do the right thing in response to their injury. Even if an employer tells a worker that they will take care of everything, it is the individual’s responsibility to file a claim, make sure that they have reported the injury, and to speak to any witnesses who may have observed the accident.
Claimants have options if they are unable to return to their jobs after being injured. Sometimes the employer offers modified duty to the injured worker, which is the worker’s right to accept. If the employer offers work that is within the employee’s light duty restrictions, the employee is required to accept that work, otherwise they might not be entitled to any additional lost wage benefits.
If the employer does not offer light duty work, the employee should look for light duty work elsewhere. They are required to conduct a job search in order to be entitled to lost wage benefits and must show proof that they contacted a minimum of five jobs per week. Once the employee finds light duty work elsewhere, they are entitled to partial benefits if they are making less money than what they made before the accident.
If you suffered an injury at your place of work, you may have legal options. There are several important things to know about workers’ comp claims in Chesterfield County that could put you in a good position to receive financial relief. Call a local attorney today to learn more about your potential case.