I always get concerned when injured workers tell me that their employer (or the insurance carrier) has made them all these promises that they will be taken care of after a work injury. In fact, I had an injured worker call me today who had an injury several years ago. For conversation sake, we will call him Mark.
Mark was injured in January of 2012, and because his employer told him his medical bills would be taken care of because he was injured at work, Mark did not pursue anything further. For the first 2 years, Mark’s medical bills were paid and he didn’t have any worries but fast forward to August of 2014 and now Mark is having medical problems related to the work injury and whenever he goes to the doctor he is getting billed for these visits that the workers’ compensation insurance is not paying.
He called the employer about this and his employer directed him to the insurance carrier for the workers compensation claim. The insurance carrier told Mark that he did not have LIFETIME MEDICAL BENEFITS so they no longer had to pay for his treatment. Mark is now having to pay for his treatment because there is nothing in writing from the Virginia Workers Compensation Commission ordering the insurance carrier to be responsible for his medical bills related to his workers compensation injuries.
The sad truth is, Mark missed the 2 year deadline in Virginia (also called the Statute of Limitations) to file a claim with the Virginia Workers Compensation Commission and now he can never undo this mistake because the time has passed.
This is exactly why I tell injured workers that filing their Claim for Benefits form with the Virginia Workers Compensation Commission and asking for LIFETIME MEDICAL BENEFITS is an extremely important first step.
What Mark should have done:
He should have filed his Claim for Benefits form right after he was injured requesting his lifetime medical benefits for the specific body parts injured. If this had been done within the two year time limit, Mark could still be going to the doctor and getting treatment covered by the workers compensation insurance carrier.
If you would like more information on the Virginia workers compensation system, order my book, “The Ultimate Guide to Workers Compensation in Virginia” by clicking this link, or call our office today (804) 755-7755