A serious workplace injury can force you to take a lengthy leave of absence, and if you’re the family breadwinner, this could cause many financial difficulties. Even if you’re single, you could still face some difficulties. You may benefit by having a Richmond attorney work with you in settling a workers’ comp claim. An attorney who understands Virginia Workers’ Compensation law could be your best advocate at this time.
If you try settling a workers’ comp claim without the guidance of a Richmond attorney, you may not receive all compensation to which you’re entitled. A shrewd attorney can help you avoid certain mistakes that could leave you at a loss.
Virginia Workers’ Compensation: 5 Costly Mistakes
The first mistake you’ll want to avoid is the misconception that the insurance adjuster, who may come across as cordial, will keep your best interests in mind. Keep in mind that the insurance adjuster works for the insurance company, and he or she is looking out for their employer’s bottom line. A Richmond attorney, on the other hand, will work for you.
Insurance adjusters understand Virginia Workers’ Compensation law and they will do all they can to minimize your injuries or deny settling your workers’ comp claim.
The second mistake to avoid is failing to pursue a claim because your employer or an insurance adjuster says you don’t have a claim. It’s common for an insurance adjuster to deny a claim, and if you don’t fight for the compensation that’s rightfully yours under Virginia Workers’ Compensation law, you lose. When a claim is denied, there could be a 4- to 6-month delay in receiving compensation, which saves the insurance company money.
Employers may even try to trick injured workers by saying they won’t accept your claim if you wait more than 24 hours after the accident before notifying them. This doesn’t mean you can’t file a claim. As your Richmond attorney will explain, you have 2 years to file a claim, and you have 30 days to notify your employer.
Workers’ Comp Claim vs. Personal Injury Claim
The third mistake to avoid is thinking that a workers’ comp claim is too similar to a personal injury claim. On most levels, they differ. Injured workers can’t file a personal injury lawsuit against their employer. The only remedy, aside from third-party claims, is Workers’ Compensation. Furthermore, in a personal injury case, you can get compensation for physical and emotional pain and suffering.
However, when settling a workers’ comp claim, you can get two-thirds of your weekly wages and compensation for medical bills, but nothing for pain and suffering. There will be no private agreement; everything will be based on Virginia Workers’ Compensation law.
The fourth mistake to avoid is hiding an old injury from your Richmond attorney or misrepresenting your activity level. If you aggravate a pre-existing injury in a workplace accident, it’ll be covered under Virginia Workers’ Compensation law.
Since there’s no doctor/patient privilege involved in settling a workers’ comp claim, the insurance adjuster can easily access your medical records. If it’s determined that you withheld information about an old injury, you’ll lose credibility and your claim will be in jeopardy. If you misrepresent your activity level, your credibility will also be shot.
The fifth mistake to avoid is failing to report and file your claim. Even if you think your workplace injury is minor, you should still report it, because it could turn to be severe.
Understand that the following kinds of injuries could lead to permanent damage if ignored:
- shoulder; or
If you do report your injury but fail to file a workers’ comp claim, you may receive voluntary payments, but those payments will stop after about 2 years, when the statute of limitations runs out.
Take steps now to protect your legal rights by acquiring the assistance of a Virginia Workers’ Compensation law firm.
Contact a Richmond Attorney for Help Settling a Workers’ Comp Claim
When you have difficulties with your work-related injury claim, a Virginia Workers’ Comp attorney can bear some of the burden you’ve been placed under. To get back on your feet, whether it means getting back to work or getting the benefits you deserve, order a copy of our free book, the Ultimate Guide to Workers’ Compensation in Virginia, and contact a workers’ comp attorney at the Injured Workers Law Firm for a no-cost consultation – 877-755-7744 or 804-755-7755.
About the Author: Injured Workers Law Firm
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.