What Is The Virginia Workers’ Compensation Claim Form And Should I File One?
THIS IS IMPORTANT!! Just because you have told or given your employer notice of your injury, doesn’t necessarily mean that the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission (VWCC) is aware of your injury. Sometimes, your workers’ comp insurance carrier will pay your claim voluntarily and never report your claim to the VWCC. While this may be convenient now since you are getting compensation and medical bills paid by your employer, not having a Virginia Workers’ Compensation Claim Form filed with the VWCC can be devastating to your claim later on.
How Can I Protect Myself?
In fact, filing a claim with the VWCC (usually within 2 years of the date of your injury) is really the ONLY way to protect yourself and your workers’ comp claim. If the 2 year period passes without a Claim Form being filed, there is often nothing that can be done at that point to protect your rights.
Virginia Workers’ Comp Claim Form
The Claim Form can be accessed at the VWCC website and should be filled out completely. Make certain to include correct and complete contact information for yourself as well as your employer. Try to give a very specific description of how your accident happened and what body parts were injured. Be certain to list ALL body parts that were affected by your injury. A good example here is if you have injured your lower back but also have pain or numbness going into one of your legs. On the Claim Form, you would list both the injury to your back and also list your leg, making sure to specify which leg is giving you problems. If an affected body part is not listed on the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Claim Form, the insurance carrier may be able to get away with not paying for medical treatment for that part of the body.
At the bottom of the Claim Form, you get to tell the VWCC what kind of benefits you need or are asking for. Do you just need a lifetime medical award to cover the current and future costs of medical treatment for your injury? Or, do you also need to request compensation for time you have lost from work due to the injury?
Time Lost From Work
It’s important to note that in Virginia, workers’ compensation does not start paying for lost wages until the injured worker has missed 7 or more days of work due to the injury. If you miss 21 days or more for your injury, then you can be reimbursed for the first 7 days you missed.
The Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission requires that your doctor order you to be off work for those 7 or more days. You can’t just decide on your own that you need to be off 7 days and expect to get paid for it. If your doctor puts you off work, make sure you get an off work note from the doctor at EVERY appointment you attend. You should NEVER leave the doctor’s office without getting your office work note.
Other Necessary Items for Claim
The Claim Form from the VWCC also requires that you include medical records, out of work slips, and/or medical bills to prove your claim. You can often get these records directly from your doctor.
Once you have completed the Claim Form in full, be sure to sign it and file it with the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission. When it is filed, the workers’ comp insurance company will have 20 days to say whether it is approving or denying your claim.
Because all workers’ comp situations are different, we always recommend that you talk to a lawyer who is experienced with Virginia workers’ comp claims to help assess your situation.
Talk To a Virginia Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
If you’ve been injured on the job, it is wise to talk to a lawyer who is experienced in workers’ compensation claims. At the Ritchie Law Firm, you can talk to us for FREE . . . NO STRINGS ATTACHED! We can give you advice on your claim before you make a decision that could damage your case. Check out our article on “How Much Does a Workers’ Comp Lawyer Cost” here.
For more than 45 years, the Ritchie Law Firm has successfully helped thousands of injured workers navigate the complex workers’ compensation process. The Ritchie Law Firm specializes in serving injury victims. We never represent insurance companies or corporations. If your workers’ compensation case is going to hearing, you will want a trial expert on your side. We are board certified trial specialists through the National Board of Trial Advocacy. The attorney you choose for your workers’ compensation case can make all the difference.
Virginia Workers’ compensation is a complex system that can be very difficult to navigate. Be very careful to make certain that your rights are protected before you sign anything. There is no cost to talk to our workers’ comp lawyers. If we take your case, we don’t get a fee unless we win your case. There is no risk to you to get some information about your case before you make any decision that might negatively affect its outcome.
Choose wisely. . . you can talk to us for FREE.
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