There are three ways to report your injury. First, you need to report your injury to your employer. Even if your injury was witnessed by other employees, including your direct supervisor, it is YOUR responsibility to immediately (as soon as you are able) contact your employer to advise them of your work injury and how you were injured. We recommend that you tell your supervisor as soon as you can and ask if you need to complete an accident report. If not, you can call your Human Resources Department to ensure that they have knowledge that your injury happened and all of the details (when it happened, what happened to cause the injury, and all body parts that hurt). You can also notify your employer in writing.
Secondly, you also need to file a Claim Form with the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission. You can do this one of several ways. If you are computer savvy, you can register with Webfile at https://webfile.workcomp.virginia.gov/portal/vwc-portal and click on claimant registration in the top right hand corner. Once you have registered, you can complete the Claim Form online and upload it automatically. Alternatively, you can find the form on our website here. You can then print the form, complete it, and mail it to the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission, 1000 DMV Drive, Richmond, VA 23220. Lastly, if you have no access to a computer, you can contact our office for a copy of the Claim Form.
You need to complete the Claim Form as completely as you can. There are two parts- Part A and Part B. The form says that Part B is optional. Just completing Part A will toll the statute of limitations but no hearing will be scheduled and no additional action will be taken by the Commission unless you complete both Part A and Part B of the form. You also want to be sure that you include ALL of the body parts that you hurt in your work injury, the date of your injury, exactly what happened to cause your injury, and what benefits you are seeking.
Lastly, you will need to inform all medical providers of what happened to cause your work injury, the date of the work injury, and ALL body parts involved – especially and even if you feel a particular body part doesn’t hurt very much (i.e. the pain will go away). This is very important, as the insurance carrier will deny treatment for any issue that is not specifically mentioned in the initial medical report. Remember to tell the doctor exactly what hurts even a little, each time you are treated, even if the doctor tells you that the insurance company will not cover that injury. Then, each time you see a new doctor, tell them exactly what happened to cause the work injury, ALL body parts you hurt, and the date of the work injury.
Immediately Report Your Injury
Report your injury to your supervisor or manager immediately, regardless of whether or not you think you will need medical treatment. Ideally, it would be best for your supervisor to write a written accident report and for you to get a copy of that report. Many jobs are physically demanding and with many jobs you have aches and pains every day.
However, if you think it’s a minor injury that will go away in a day or two and you don’t report it and it ends up not being a minor injury, then you have given the insurance adjuster an opportunity to deny your claim and make you fight for your benefits at a hearing in order to resolve the issues.
This happens often with back injuries when you may feel a little twinge when you lift a box but continue to work and by the next day you can’t even get out bed because you’re in such pain. If you had reported it when it occurred, even though it was minor, they would not be able to contest it. You must give your employer 30 days notice of any accident but immediately is best.
About the Author: Michele Lewane
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.