How Do I Get Workers’ Compensation Benefits in Virginia?

In Virginia, to get workers’ compensation benefits after you’ve been injured, you need to notify your employer immediately—even if it is a minor injury.  Don’t worry that you may not appear to be a team player.  Once your employer receives notice, he or she will file a first report of accident and submit it to the workers’ compensation insurance carrier.  At that point, the insurance adjuster will call you, ask questions about your injury, and record your statement (which is something I usually recommend not giving).  Then you should begin receiving two thirds of your wages weekly, and given a panel of three doctors to choose from.  This may seem simple BUT there are many traps.

The biggest problem is that the injured worker has the burden of proof.  This means that the insurance adjuster and the employer can do nothing and can say nothing.  They have no obligation to explain anything to you, which may mislead you—and you have no recourse.  It is up to injured workers, even if they are unconscious in a hospital, to know what their rights and obligations are and to ask for their benefits.  Most insurance adjusters have a policy “if they don’t ask, don’t tell.”  This is the reason why it is best to talk to an attorney experienced in workers’ compensation so you know your rights and are informed of any areas in your claim that could prevent you from getting your full benefits.

You may not need to hire an attorney but you should get fully informed since you are held responsible for any mistakes you may make.  Good workers’ compensation attorneys will give you a free consultation to discuss your particular situation.