Protect your rights.
How do you best protect yourself? Get an Award order by filing a claim for benefits. You may file a claim for benefits either by writing a simple letter, by filling out the claim for benefits form provided by the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission, or by filing online at http://www.vwc.state.va.us. Even though I use letter form to file claim for benefits for my clients, I recommend to injured workers who do not have an attorney to use the claim for benefits form (a sample is in the appendix). To fill the form out, you need to have the employer’s name and address. The most important part of this form is “parts of your body injured.” You MUST list ALL the body parts injured specifically. A shoulder is not an arm. A neck is not a shoulder. A head injury is not a brain injury. If you do not list the body part specifically, then they do not have to provide medical treatment for that body part. Overkill is best. Even if the body part doesn’t need medical treatment currently, if it was injured during the accident, list it. You also need to list the specific date of injury and your average weekly wage per week. If you don’t know whether the insurance adjuster is accepting or denying your claim at this point or you believe they are accepting your claim, that’s all you fill out and then you mail the form to the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission. At that point, they will contact the insurance adjuster and require them to fill out forms that will generate the Award order that you need. If you know they are already denying part of your claim, under Part B you want to check the various items that are in dispute and what you are seeking: medical benefits, lost wages or partial lost wages, or permanent partial disability benefits (when a doctor has given you an impairment rating to a body part when you have lost range of motion). You can also use this form if your situation changes and you have what’s called a Change in Condition, or to request a hearing on the various items that are under Part B.