Virginia Workers’ Comp with Al Inigo

Video Transcript

Hi, my name is Al Inigo.  I’m an attorney with the Ritchie Law Firm, and I’m here to answer questions that you may have after being hurt at work.  The first thing that you should do if you are injured on the job is to let your employer know immediately.  That is an important thing to do.  And, preferably do that in writing, whether it’s a text or email so that you have record that you let your supervisor or whoever is directly above you, you let them know immediately after you’ve been injured.

Even if you think it’s not going to be a serious injury and you may just have a day or two off and you may get better, you still want to report that.  Otherwise, you may lose the ability to get compensation for those injuries later on.  If you do need medical treatment for your injuries, you will have to make sure that your employer knows and that you are given a selection of doctors to go to.

If it’s a serious injury, you may just be taken to the emergency room immediately, which is fine, but if you have time to choose a doctor, it’s important that you ask for a selection of doctors from your employer that are authorized to do workers’ compensation treatment.  If you don’t do that, if you just pick a doctor on your own and don’t let your employer or their insurance company know, you may have to pay for that treatment yourself.  So, just be sure to let your employer know you were injured.   And, if you need medical care, ask them for a list of doctors that you can go to.

A lot of people are worried that if they do that, if they report their injury and if they have to get medical treatment, their employer may fire them.  Unfortunately, in Virginia, your employer can fire you if you are hurt on the job and can’t do the work and they need to replace you.  However, if they fire you, that’s not going to affect your workers’ compensation claim.  You will still be able to get the medical treatment that you need and have the employer’s insurance company pay for that.  And, if you are out of work for a significant amount of time, you’re also going to get the wage benefits that you are entitled to.  So, while it’s understandable that people are concerned about that, it’s still important for you to file that claim and let your employer know it has happened so it can be handled properly.

A lot of times people are also worried about talking to a lawyer; if their employer finds out they’ve talked to a lawyer will that make them fire me?  You can always just talk to a lawyer without letting your employer known you’ve done that.  Most firms will give you an initial consultation and they won’t charge you anything.  And, they may be able to answer your questions and put your mind at ease a little bit more.  So, my recommendation is that you always speak to a lawyer even if you don’t end up hiring them.  If you talk to a lawyer and things go the way they should, you may not need to hire them.

But, there are times when you definitely need to hire a lawyer – if you have serious injuries that are likely to give you any kind of permanent injuries or permanent limitations.  It’s very important that you talk to a lawyer in that instance because they’re going to be able to navigate that procedure and get you compensation for any permanent injuries that you may have.  And, it’s also possible to settle workers’ compensation claims in Virginia.  And, you should definitely have an attorney help you with that process, because it’s complicated and the truth is that the insurance companies are not trying to help you.  They are trying to get out of it for as little as they can.  And, the advice of a skilled workers’ comp lawyer is going to help even the playing field between you and the insurance company.

If you have any more questions about your case or your claim, we would be happy to talk to you at the Ritchie Law Firm and give you the assistance you need.  Thank you.