If you get injured or fall ill while performing your work duties, Virginia law provides that you could be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits that cover your medical bills and part of your lost income. Getting these benefits begins with you reporting your injury or illness to your employer and filing a claim per the state’s provisions. Below, we look at the importance of executing this process properly.
Contact the experienced Richmond Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at The Injured Workers Law Firm if you have any questions about your workers’ comp rights.
Reasons for Filing a Workers Comp Claim Accurately
Since workers’ compensation is your “exclusive remedy” for work-related benefits, filing a claim correctly is crucial to your rights. This is because the claim is responsible for:
1. Initiating Litigation
Your case begins when you file a claim. Indicating the correct date on the legal documents will protect you from future claims of missing the filing deadline.
2. Defining Damages
Because your claim highlights the benefits you are seeking, inaccurate or incomplete data could close you out of some forms of reimbursement. This is more prevalent when claimants wrongly classify a disability, e.g., recording a permanent partial disability as temporary.
3. Scope of Disclosure
Your claim defines the dispute and damages you are seeking. By doing this, it limits the documents and information you have to disclose to the insurance company during discovery. This right is stronger when your claim is accurate and detailed.
4. Improved Argument
As a general rule, the easier your claim is to understand, the higher the chances the deputy will rule in your favor. This is because an accurate claim is easy to follow.
Workers’ Compensation Deadlines
Virginia law sets deadlines for the period within which a party can bring a lawsuit against another party otherwise called a statute of limitations. Filing a workers’ comp claim correctly protects you from missing this deadline and having your claim dismissed.
For example, if you don’t file an appeal within 30 days of a workers’ comp decision, it will not be reviewed by the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission. Accurate filing comes in because the laws also dictate that the appeal is only filed if it is:
- Submitted through the website
- Hand-delivered to the Commission’s regional or main office in Richmond
- Mailed via USPS using registered or certified mail
Simply put, the filing is only valid if the Commission has actual records of receiving it and the information is verified as correct before the 30-day deadline.
Filing Your Claim in the Right State
One of the most crucial considerations when filing a workers’ compensation claim is the ‘where.’ If you file a claim in a different state than where you were injured or did most of your work, you may receive less compensation than you deserve. This is especially important for workers injured in Washington, DC because the compensation rate is higher there than in Maryland and Virginia.
Contact a Richmond Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
Some employers and insurance companies will offer to make voluntary workers’ comp payments in lieu of you filing a claim. While this can seem generous, it is a ploy to keep you distracted until the statute of limitations runs out on your case, and you can’t receive the benefits you deserve. This is another reason you should contact The Injured Workers Law Firm at (804) 755-7755 to have your claim completed accurately by knowledgeable Richmond Workers’ Compensation Lawyers.
About the Author: Michele Lewane
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.