I wanted to do just a quick little Virginia workers compensation claims fiction vs. fact for folks as a quick reminder about some of the misconceptions and flawed information that injured workers can sometimes get about dealing with the workers compensation claim process.
Fiction vs. Fact
FICTION: I didn’t report my injury the day it happened, so I can’t get workers compensation benefits.
FACT: In the State of Virginia, you can be covered by workers compensation benefits so long as the injury is reported to the employer within 30 days of the accident.
FICTION: The injury was partly my fault, so I can’t get worker compensation benefits.
FACT: Workers compensation is a no fault process and it doesn’t matter who is at fault for the accident.
FICTION: I was at work while I was injured, so I’m covered.
FACT: You injury must be related to work in order to be covered. If you trip over your own feet and get hurt or have a heart attack, simply being at work does not mean you are covered. Virginia requires that there is some link between your work and your injury in order for you to receive benefits.
FICTION: I was injured at work so I’m going to sue my employer!
FACT: In Virginia, you are entitled to workers compensation benefits for a work accident injury but you cannot sue your employer because you got injured at work.
FICTION: My employer’s negligence caused my injury, I’m going to sue my employer!
FACT: In Virginia, you are entitled to workers compensation benefits for a work accident injury but you cannot sue your employer because you got injured at work. Workers compensation insurance is a “no fault” system.
FICTION: I have a pre-existing injury, so I can’t get workers compensation benefits.
FACT: If your work injury aggravated a prior medical condition, your injuries are covered by workers compensation.
FICTION: The insurance company is paying my medical bills, so I’m covered.
FACT: The ONLY way to ensure you are protected against the 2 year Statute of Limitations is to file your Claim for Benefits form with the Virginia Workers Compensation Commission and get an award for lifetime medical benefits.
FICTION: The insurance adjuster is looking out for me.
FACT: The insurance adjuster is an agent of the insurance company and their job is to save the insurance company money. The sad truth is that insurance companies want to save money and they do this by not paying claims. Be very careful who you put your trust in!
FICTION: The Virginia Workers Compensation Commission is looking out for me.
FACT: The Virginia Workers Compensation Commission is an impartial judicial system. Their job is to process your claim paperwork and, if you go to a hearing; the Deputy Commissioner will hear the testimony, review the evidence, then make a determination on benefits based on current Virginia law.
FICTION: I’m a good worker, so my employer will take care of me.
FACT: The insurance company makes the determination about your benefits and, in order to get workers compensation, you have to meet the laws set forth by the Virginia State Legislature. Being a great (or horrible) employee is NOT a factor in determining benefits.
The sad truth is that there is a lot of bad information out there and, if an injured worker gets the wrong information, the consequences can be devastating. Make sure you know what is fact and what is fiction!