You will likely have to go to a court hearing if your workers compensation claim is denied. If the injured worker and the workers compensation insurance company are not able to resolve the issues in the claim, then the matter can be scheduled for a hearing before the Virginia Workers Compensation Commission. The Deputy Commissioner that hears your claim will review all the evidence in the case (so long as it was properly and timely filed with the Commission according to the Rules of the Commission) and makes a determination as to whether or not the injured worker is entitled to the benefits in your claim. This, too, can be a complicated process. I always recommend talking to an attorney if your claim is going to a hearing before a Commissioner.
If the worker’s compensation insurance company is not willing to accept your claim (or any part of your claim), you may also have the option to pursue settlement of your claim. The settlement is a mutual agreement between the insurance carrier and the injured worker to resolve the claim for a lump sum of money. Settlement can be complicated and you need to understand the details of the settlement process. I always recommend talking to an attorney before exploring settlement as an option because an experienced workers compensation attorney can guide you through the workers compensation legal process and help you to strategize and settle your claim at the appropriate time in order to ensure that you get the maximum value allowable under Virginia workers compensation law.
However, if the workers compensation insurance company accepts your claim, then you do not have to go to a court hearing. An Award Agreement will be circulated for signature. It is a document that will reflect the benefits the workers compensation insurance company is agreeing to pay to you. Then, the signed Award Agreement form that is signed by all parties is submitted to the Virginia Workers Compensation Commission for approval and entry of an Award Order. The signed Award Agreement lets the Commission know that there is no dispute so there is no reason for a court hearing to be scheduled.
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.