I get this question a lot! Being injured in Virginia and having a Virginia workers’ compensation claim does not mean that you have to spend the rest of your life in Virginia in order to collect your benefits. This is one of those “it depends” type of situations and it really depends on what phase of the workers’ compensation claim process you are involved in when you decide to relocate.
If you leave the state and are not available to return to your job when the doctor releases you to light duty work, your employer may give you a hard time and the insurance adjuster may try to stop you from receiving lost wage benefits. There is a lot of strategy and planning that needs to go into the decision to move out of the state. There is no simple yes or no answer to this question.
If you have lifetime medical benefits through an Award Order and are relocating out of Virginia, you can have your out of state medical care covered – as long as you follow the appropriate steps to in order be in compliance with the rules and regulations that the Virginia workers’ compensation system has set forth. You would get a new panel of doctors to choose from in your new location. However, the biggest problem that I encounter is that doctors do not like to take out of state workers’ compensation patients (if there is a conflict with his or her bills, he or she would have to fight the insurance company in Virginia).
This can be a tricky situation and I strongly suggest that, if you have a Virginia workers’ compensation claim and you are considering moving out of state, you contact an attorney so you can get the right information for your unique situation.
If you have questions about your benefits or if you would like more information on the Virginia workers’ compensation system, order my book, “The Ultimate Guide to Workers’ Compensation in Virginia,” or call our office today (804) 755-7755.