What if I can never return to work after my injury? Can I get workers’ compensation wage benefits for life?

A: Usually, and in most cases, no. You will be limited to 500 weeks of wage compensation. However, there are some exceptions. If you have been severely injured on the job and are unable to return to work, you may qualify for permanent disability payments through workers’ compensation insurance. Proving permanent disability can be difficult and it requires a lot of evidence and documentation like medical records.

As a disabled worker, first determine if you suffered an injury that may automatically qualify for permanent disability through workers’ compensation. These are typically very serious injuries like spinal cord injuries with paralysis in more than one extremity. Also, an amputation of or severe inability to use at least two extremities (hands, arms, legs, or feet) may automatically qualify as well. Like paralysis, the loss of a limb greatly affects your ability to perform most jobs and even seemingly menial tasks.

Severe brain or head injuries have similar effects. Head injuries that commonly qualify for permanent disability are evidenced by severe coordination or motor control difficulties, problems communicating, and more. Severe burns or total blindness may also automatically qualify.

If your injury was not listed here but it is preventing you from performing in any line of work within a 50 mile radius of your home, you can still qualify. Your ability to return to work is defined by your injuries as well as your job experience, training, and the job market in your area. We can help you sort through your medical records and testimony to figure out if you qualify for permanent total disability.


About the Author:

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.