My office gets contacted at least once a day by someone who has poorly reported their injury (usually by mistake) and the insurance carrier has therefore denied their benefits. BE VERY CAREFUL WHEN PICKING YOUR WORDS!!! Often times, people leave out details that end up hurting them in the long run; maybe because they did not want to take the time write down the whole scenario around the injury or maybe because they wrongly assume that it happened at work so they will be covered and there is no need for detail. For example, one gentleman wrote on his injury report that he injured his back lifting boxes at work and his claim was denied by the insurance company as being a repetitive injury (repetitive lifting injuries are not covered in Virginia!). However, when this gentleman spoke with my office he stated that he had lifted a box full of product and felt a pop in his back followed by immediate pain. These are two VERY different descriptions of injury that could provoke a different response from the insurance company or the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission. Sadly, had this gentleman written out the whole description of how the injury really occurred, his claim may not have been denied in the first place.
A good rule to remember is that for an injury to be covered by workers’ compensation in Virginia, you have to be able to say, without a doubt, what you were doing and how the injury occurred.
written by: Michele Lewane, Attorney