After suffering an injury in the workplace, you might not only be dealing with the injury itself, but also the medical bills, mental anguish, and the possibility that you may not be returning to your job. It is important to know the steps to take after a workplace accident in Chesterfield County. A personal injury attorney can assist you in navigating the complicated path of workers’ compensation.
All employees in Chesterfield County require coverage under workers’ compensation when the employer has three or more employees regularly working for them. When the employer has fewer than three employees, they are not required to have coverage. The employer is also not required to have coverage when the workers are independent contractors.
The most important thing for an employee to do is to report it immediately, preferably in writing. The incident should be reported to at least one supervisor, if not more.
An injured person should also obtain medical treatment immediately. They should ask the employer for a panel of doctors to choose from, or else seek medical treatment on their own to have contemporaneous medical evidence of their injuries. They should then discuss that with an attorney to see whether the incident is something they can file a claim on.
No one directly alerts individuals of their ability to file for workers’ compensation. The employer is not required to directly inform the employee of their rights under the Workers’ Compensation Act or the necessity of them filing a claim with the Workers’ Compensation Commission.
All employers are, however, required to hang posters in a conspicuous place to inform an injured worker of their rights. Too often, employees do not pay attention to the posters and some employers do not have the posters displayed at all. The only person who will advise an injured worker of what to do after an injury is a workers’ compensation attorney.
A Workers’ Compensation Notice for the Commonwealth of Virginia is a mandatory posting for all employers in Virginia, under penalty of fines or sanctions. An attorney sometimes uses the failure of the employer to display the poster as a defense for why a claim was not filed.
An individual can go to the Workers’ Compensation Commission’s website to fill out and print the claim, or they could fill it out in person at the Workers’ Compensation Commission.
The claim asks for the employer’s name, address, and details about how the accident occurred. They need to list the body parts they injured, the location of the accident, their pre-injury wages, and the benefits they seek, such as total lost wages, partial lost wages, or payment of unpaid medical bills. The filing must be done within two years of the date of the accident, although there are some exceptions which an attorney could explain.
A notice to the employer that the employee suffered an injury on the job must be provided within 30 days. If someone files the claim with the Workers’ Compensation Commission within 30 days, they will send a copy to the employer and the insurance company. However, one should not rely on that because the longer they wait to file a claim or give notice to their employer, the likelier it is that their claim will be denied.
Injured workers should make sure they do what they are required to do and not rely on their employer to take care of things for them. Injured workers are often too trusting of their employer and do not realize there are things they are responsible for addressing as opposed to the employer.
There have been cases where an employee believes everything was taken care of and they do not file a claim for benefits within two years because they assume their employer took care of it. After the two-year statute of limitations runs, their claim is denied. An attorney could be a reliable ally in ensuring every step is done on time.
When someone is completely unable to work or unable to perform the type of work they did at the time of their injury, they are eligible for lost wage benefits. If they go back to work in a light duty capacity and they make less money, they can file a claim for temporary partial disability benefits. The benefits are calculated as two-thirds of the difference between their pre-injury weekly wage and what they earn at their light duty position.
Besides documenting the accident scene, notifying your employer and the Commission, and finding new work, there are many things to consider when filing a workers’ comp suit. A compassionate Chesterfield County lawyer could greatly ease that burden. Call today to learn how an attorney could help your case.