Workers Compensation case law in Virginia is very specific about the benefits that employees who have been hurt in a work-related injury are entitled to. If you are filing a work-related injury claim for Workers Comp in Virginia, speak with an attorney who may be able to help guide you through the process.
Lost Wage Benefits in a Work-Related Injury Claim
Lost wages – or in legalese, temporary total disability benefits – are given when an employee is removed from work by his or her physician. The benefits, which are part of Workers’ Comp in Virginia, entitle the employee to two-thirds pre-injury average weekly wages for up to a maximum of 500 weeks.
Average weekly wages are determined by your last 52 weeks of work and include expenses such as meals, uniforms, bonuses and overtime. The maximum you will be awarded is $905.00, so if you earned more than $1357.00 a week, you will still only receive $905.00 instead of two-thirds of your wage.
These benefits go into effect after you have, on your doctor’s authority, been out of work for 7 days, and after you have been out of work for 21 days, you will be reimbursed for the first 7.
In most cases, 500 weeks is enough time to recover from an injury and return to work, but in some tragic cases, even after 500 weeks, an injured worker may not be able to return to his or her job, and the 500 weeks of lost wages is insufficient to cover the remaining lifetime of expenses.
If you are filing a work-related injury claim, it’s important that you know how Workers’ Compensation case law will impact you. How your claim is handled could dictate a large portion of your future earnings and most certainly how your injury and injury-related expenses are handled. An attorney who practices workers comp in Virginia may be able to help.
According to Workers’ Compensation case law, injured employees are entitled to lost wages when they are no longer able to work. Speak with an attorney who has handled Workers’ Comp in Virginia before and can explain to you your rights and entitlements.
Take note that these are not the only benefits that an injured employee is entitled to through a work-related injury claim. If you don’t ask for your benefits, however, it is unlikely that either your employer or the insurance adjuster will suggest or offer those benefits to you.
Other Entitlements Under Virginia Workers’ Compensation Law
In some cases, your doctor may authorize you for light duty, which may mean you are not making as much money as you were making before your injury. In these instances, you are allowed two-thirds the difference between your pre-injury weekly wage and your current wage.
In addition, you are entitled to cost of living adjustments (COLA) every year. COLA is determined by the consumer price index, which measures the cost of necessary goods and services that fluctuates each year due to inflation or the stability of the economy. These adjustments, while appearing small, can make a considerable difference when you are relying on a fixed income. As a caveat, if you are receiving Social Security disability benefits, you are not entitled to COLA.
In order to receive the benefits you are entitled to, it is crucial that you ask. In many cases, an insurance adjuster will not tell you that you are eligible for COLA or for other benefits, largely due to the insurance company’s primary objective: to distribute as few funds as possible. While it’s unfortunate that the system is constructed to work this way, you do not have to be the victim of a company’s bottom line.
Contact a Workers’ Comp Virginia Attorney about Your Work Related Injury Claim
When you have difficulties with filing a workers’ compensation claim, a work comp Virginia attorney can bear some of the burden. To get back on your feet, whether it means getting back to work or receiving the benefits you deserve, order a copy of our free book, the Ultimate Guide to Workers’ Compensation in Virginia, and contact a workers’ comp attorney at the Injured Workers Law Firm for a no-cost consultation – 877-755-7744 or 804-755-7755.
About the Author: Injured Workers Law Firm
The Injured Workers Law Firm is a Richmond, Virginia based firm solely focused on serving clients with workers' compensation claims in Virginia. If you have questions about your benefits or if you would like more information on the Virginia Workers’ Compensation system, order our book, “The Ultimate Guide to Workers’ Compensation in Virginia” , or call our office today (804) 755-7755.