Our Virginia Beach Workers’ Compensation lawyers serve clients who were injured at work while employed anywhere in Virginia. At East Coast Trial Lawyers, we offer a confidential consultation when clients reach out to us for assistance. We can determine how the worker should be covered, which law covers their injuries, and if they have been classified properly by their employer.
What Should Workers Do When an Injury Occurs?
When an injury occurs on the job, there are a few things every worker should do. Some injuries are so severe that the injured party may need assistance collecting evidence. Employees may use the following suggestions as a guide for managing a work injury. We recommend that clients and their friends or co-workers collect as much information as possible and move quickly to ensure that an injury does not deteriorate because of a slow response.
When someone is hurt at work, medical attention should be sought immediately. Workers in the facility or the injured worker should call 911 if the injury warrants. Also, it is important to call 911 when bones are broken or there are major lacerations. Otherwise, the worker should be excused to go to the doctor as soon as possible. Because companies that have Workers’ Compensation insurance have a list of approved doctors, the employee might want to start there. This is a good way to establish that an injury has occurred. The worker should be seen by a doctor, even if injuries appear minor.
What Types of Evidence Help a Worker’s Case?
We can easily compare when the worker was on their shift and when they received medical care to show that they were clearly hurt at work. This type of evidence is used to show that the insurance company should provide coverage. We also ask that our clients document when they reported their injuries. It can be difficult to refute an insurance company’s counterclaim if we do not have enough evidence.
If possible, taking pictures and videos of the accident scene is a good way to show what happened during and after the accident. Employers may alter the scene when cleaning up and may not record what happened. If another worker can take pictures or video, they should do so. We want to see this evidence to show how the accident occurred. We also want to speak to eyewitnesses who were at the scene of the accident. Because these witnesses were not injured, they have a better perspective on the accident and how it was caused. Workers should also show us their timecards so that we know when they were at work. We need to establish a timeline for the day, showing that the employee was indeed at work doing their job.
How Long Does a Worker Have to Report an Injury?
Employees should report the injury in writing to a supervisor as soon as possible. Workers have 30 days to report their injuries to a supervisor so that they can receive benefits under the employer’s Workers’ Compensation insurance. If workers do not file a claim or fear for their job if they file a claim, they have two years from the date of the injury to retain a lawyer and file a claim for the coverage they deserve.
We need to know who received the report, when the report was made, and what that person told the worker to do. We can easily follow up with managers and business owners to learn about how the report was handled. These managers or owners might claim a report was not made, but we can show that the report was submitted to management and proceed with a claim for coverage.
If the insurance company did not receive or act on that report, we will go to the insurance company for answers. Insurance companies often have several levels of bureaucracy to get through before a claim can be paid out, and we will use every option at our disposal to force the insurance company to act appropriately. If necessary, we will go to court to force the insurance company to pay for our client’s injuries and rehabilitation.
Workers should never give statements to the insurance company or a corporate lawyer; we must be present when speaking to those parties. We can only protect our client’s rights if we are present during questioning or a review of the accident. This also means that we can help file the claim if documentation needs to be submitted supporting the worker’s injury claim.
Those injured on the job are urged to contact a Workers’ Compensation lawyer as soon as possible for a consultation. Under Workers’ Compensation law, Workers’ Compensation is a no-fault system and the employer avoids certain liabilities. We aim to get our clients the coverage they deserve, or we can file a claim against the insurance company when it has denied coverage, offered limited coverage, or otherwise caused additional injuries through its inaction.
Benefits for Which Injured Workers are Entitled
Under Virginia law, injured employees may receive benefits for any injury that occurred as a direct result of their job duties. However, some employers might claim that injuries that occur outside of the normal work area are not covered. For example, if a traveling salesman was injured in a car accident while performing their job duties, they would still be covered because they were performing their job duties. When someone has been injured at work, they may be eligible for the following benefits:
Lost Wages: When employees are covered under Workers’ Compensation, they will receive a portion of what they would normally be paid. This amount is paid by the insurance company, and it should not impact the worker’s traditional payroll status. Additionally, insurance companies often make mistakes by failing to include overtime. This can be important when a worker must routinely work overtime.
Medical Benefits: Lifetime medical benefits should be provided when they pertain to this injury. Some injuries heal quickly, and workers get back on the job within a few days. Other workers, however, need a lifetime of medical care, physical therapy, and even counseling. This is why employers must carry Workers’ Compensation insurance; the insurance policy covers everything and accepts liability on behalf of the corporation.
These medical benefits will likely decrease over time as the worker gets better, but the insurance company does not have the right to discontinue treatment that is medically necessary. Someone who was injured on the job might need a decade of treatment or more. That person might have moved on to another job, the company might have gone bankrupt, or the worker might have even retired. However, none of that matters. This is why insurance companies accept liability on behalf of the employer. An employee who is not yet healed should continue to receive the care that they need.
Insurance companies will refuse to pay if they deem that the treatment is not medically necessary. Therefore, having a lawyer ready to help will improve the level of care that is offered. Because the insurance company has accepted the liability on behalf of the corporation, the insurance company can be forced to pay for medical treatment that we found necessary. There are also times when the insurance company will try to end treatment to get the worker back on the job.
Compensation for loss of a body part: This is also important because this can impair the worker’s ability to return to their job or even hold a job at all. This level of compensation will be judged based on what has happened. For example, someone who has diminished use of their hand will be compensated differently than someone who lost their hand.
Vocational rehabilitation: This is extremely important because it allows people to go back to work. This level of rehabilitation can take on many forms from occupational therapy to physical therapy. At times, insurance companies will try to send employees to doctors who offer only minimal care before trying to release the employee to work again.
When workers are given vocational rehabilitation, they might think that they can learn to do their job again or receive training for another job for which they are qualified. The hope is that the injured worker can make the same money they would have made before they were hurt, but this is not always the case. Most insurers look at the issue as simple job placement, sometimes at low-level jobs. When this occurs, the worker is not receiving the care that they deserve. We will file another claim against the insurance company to ensure that our clients can go back to a job that is fulfilling.
Workers’ Compensation coverage may extend to employees of any person, firm, or private corporation, including public service corporations, with three or more employees in the same business within Virginia. Part-time employees may count toward this total if they are regularly in service of the employer. We know that some workers believe they are not classified properly, or the corporation may not have coverage for everyone. Our team will review each case, ensure that our clients are covered properly, and prevent insurance companies from reducing or denying coverage.
Are There Other Instances in Which Workers’ Compensation Should be Awarded?
Under Virginia law, injured employees may receive benefits for any injury that occurred as a direct result of their job, even if that injury occurred away from the employee’s normal worksite. Employees may be entitled to Workers’ Compensation benefits if:
- They were in an accident on the job; this includes car accidents that occur while someone is working. However, crashes while commuting are usually not covered.
- The employee developed Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
- The employee got sick as a result of exposure to toxins at work, such as chemicals, asbestos, or lead.
Are Public Safety Workers Eligible?
Public safety employees, such as police officers or firefighters who suffer certain on-the-job injuries in the line of duty, are covered by Workers’ Compensation. This coverage commonly applies to the following conditions:
- Respiratory diseases
- Hypertension or heart disease
- Leukemia, pancreatic, prostate, rectal, throat, ovarian, or breast cancer
Public safety employees may also be entitled to a presumption in their favor when they have certain infectious diseases, such as hepatitis, meningococcal meningitis, tuberculosis, or HIV. Public service can expose workers to a range of conditions that need to be treated as soon as possible. Although cancer, HIV, hypertension, heart disease, and respiratory diseases might seem like normal occurrences of life, this is not always the case. These conditions could have been caused by the employee’s job, and each injury or illness should be reported.
Filing claims with a health insurance company shields the employer and its insurance company from liability. Anything that could be remotely associated with someone’s job should be reported and treated using Workers’ Compensation coverage. If coverage is denied, a Workers’ Compensation lawyer will file a claim against the insurance provider for the coverage that is required under state law.
Who is Not Eligible for Traditional Workers’ Compensation?
Public servants, housekeepers, and independent contractors are not eligible for Workers’ Compensation. There are, however, a range of professionals who will receive compensation through another system. Most Americans are not familiar with these laws because they do not perform jobs that are regulated by federal law in this way. If someone in the family has died, it is in the best interests of the family to know if that person would have been covered under these laws. Additionally, we will file a claim against the government or insurance carrier if the worker is not covered properly.
Jones Act: The Jones Act is a form of maritime law that is used to offer American sailors the coverage they need if they are injured while at sea. These companies are not subjected to traditional Workers’ Compensation laws because the boats could be out to sea when the injuries occur. These companies must allow all workers to file claims for injuries sustained while on the boat or working for the company in a distant location.
Defense Base Act: The Defense Base Act is used to cover workers who are stationed on defense bases or working on behalf of the government. This law is used to provide coverage to someone who is far away from home and cannot get away from their job. Military contractors who are working on military bases or in foreign countries could be injured during work hours or while engaged in leisure activities. Because these workers cannot leave their job, the Defense Base Act provides coverage that pays for their injuries and rehabilitation, as well as death benefits to their families back home.
Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act: The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act handles compensation for anyone who works on docks and loading zones around America. This law considers how dangerous it can be to load and unload ships, steer tugboats into the harbor, or repair vessels pulled into port.
Each of these federal laws deals with workers who perform dangerous jobs or work in remote locations. These laws still shield employers from liability, but they require employers to cover their employees with insurance that pays for illness, injury, or death. Our legal team will review each case to determine which law should cover the injured party. We can determine if the injured worker was not classified properly, not informed of their rights, or not given the opportunity to report an injury.
Our Virginia Beach Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Help Injured Workers Receive the Benefits They Deserve
If you were injured at work, reach out to the Virginia Beach Workers’ Compensation lawyers today. At East Coast Trial Lawyers, we can determine how you should have been covered, work with medical experts, and fight for your rights against the insurance company. Call us at 757-352-2237 or contact us online for a free consultation. Located in Virginia Beach, Virginia, we consult with injured workers throughout Chesapeake, Eastern Shores, Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, Portsmouth, and Suffolk, as well as North Carolina and nationwide.