Best Workers Compensation Attorney in Virginia
Contact Corey Pollard When You Need Help Receiving Workers Comp Benefits or a Lump Sum Settlement after an On the Job Injury in Virginia
You are here because you or a loved got injured at work in Virginia.
You may be in constant pain. Perhaps you can’t work or do your regular job due to the injuries. Maybe you’re overwhelmed with calls from the insurance company, workers compensation forms, or medical provider bills. Or maybe your benefits stopped and you don’t know what to do.
Breathe easy, you’ve come to the right place. You’ve found a Virginia workers compensation attorney who can help you win and recover fully. We aggressively defend the legal rights of hard working Virginians who have been hurt on the job.
Like most states, Virginia offers financial protection and medical treatment for workers who are injured on the job. This system is called workers compensation. Under it, an injured worker can recover lost earnings, medical expenses, and disability compensation payments, no matter who or what caused the workplace accident.
But workers compensation laws in Virginia are complicated and detailed. It can be hard to navigate the system and get the benefits you deserve. The right workers comp attorney, who knows how to prove to the Commission that your injury is covered under the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Act, file a detailed claim with the appropriate paperwork and supportive evidence, and win maximum benefits for you at hearing, can make you and your family’s recovery easier.
Call, text, or email us today for a free, no obligation consultation with one of the best workers compensation attorneys in Virginia. We’re ready to help you win and get fair compensation for injuries suffered in your workplace accident!
Workers Compensation in Virginia
There were close to 3 million workplace injuries and illnesses reported by private industry employers in a recent year. And another 752,600 workplace injuries and illnesses reported among state and local government workers. More than 4,500 American workers were killed on the job.
Over half of all workplace injuries and illnesses resulted in days missed from work or the need for light duty restrictions.
Here at home, Virginia workers suffered more than 62,000 workplace injuries last year alone. These workplace injuries ranged from minor sprains and bruises to fractures and ligament tears to life-threatening health conditions and even death. On average at least one week of work was missed for each claim filed – and there were more than 40,000 workers comp claims filed last year.
Common Workplace Accidents
Virginia is home to a number of different industries: construction; mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction; manufacturing; transportation and warehousing; finance and insurance; health care and social assistance; and accommodation and food services. You name it, we have it. We also have crowded roadways with frequent car accidents. All these factors add up to create some of the most dangerous workplace condition in the USA..
Though some industries are inherently dangerous, such as the construction industry, an accident can happen in any type of work environment to any type of employee.
Some of the most common types of workplace accidents that we see in Virginia include:
- Being struck by falling objects
- Car accidents
- Chemical accidents
- Construction accidents
- Crane accidents
- Defective equipment
- Dock accidents
- Electrocution and electrical accidents
- Falling off ladders and heights
- Fires and explosions
- Forklift accidents
- Hospital accidents
- Industrial accidents
- Overexertion (from lifting, pushing, pulling, carrying, or throwing too much)
- Repetitive trauma (also called cumulative trauma or repeated stress)
- Scaffold accidents
- Slip & fall accidents on dangerous services
- Warehouse accidents
- Welding accidents
- Workplace violence
These are just some of the workplace accidents that our clients have been injured in. We represent injured workers who were hurt in all types of workplace accidents in Virginia and across the nation.
Common Job Injuries and Occupational Diseases
If you work for a covered Virginia employer (more than 97% of you!) then you are eligible for workers compensation benefits if you suffer a work injury that arises out of a risk of your employment.
Work injuries come in different forms in Virginia. We handle common on-the-job injury claims involving, but not limited to:
- Arthritis and other pre-existing conditions
- Back injuries
- Broken bones
- Eye injuries
- Finger injuries
- Hand injuries
- Head injuries such as concussions or traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Hearing loss
- Hip injuries
- Loss of limb
- Neck injuries
- Post-concussive syndrome
- Shoulder injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Thumb injuries
- Vision loss
- Wrist injuries
Your injury doesn’t have to be caused by a physical accident to receive benefits. Occupational conditions, illnesses, and diseases that happen over a long period are covered by Virginia workers compensation too. These conditions include asthma, carpal tunnel syndrome, cancer, heart disease, lung disease, mold exposure, respiratory disorders, and strokes.
You can also receive workers comp benefits for a mental health condition or psychiatric impairment like PTSD, depression, or anxiety if the work injury causes or worsens the mental health condition or if you experience a sudden shock or fright at work that causes the condition to develop.
These injuries may be caused by an unavoidable accident, inadequate training, defective machinery, or a dangerous work environment. Under Virginia workers compensation the cause doesn’t matter. Virginia workers comp is a no-fault system that compensates injured employees even if their own negligence caused the injury.
Injured Workers We Represent
Workers compensation attorney Corey Pollard helps clients in all different occupations and professions, including:
- Airline workers
- Construction workers
- City and state employees
- Cleaning professionals, including janitors and custodians
- Factory workers
- Food service workers
- Healthcare workers, including nurses
- HVAC workers
- Maintenance workers
- Metal workers
- Office workers and administrative staff
- Oil and gas workers
- Police officers
- Railroad workers
- Sanitation workers
- Shipyard workers
- Tractor-trailer drivers and long haul truckers
- Transit workers
- Union workers
- Utility workers
- Warehouse workers
These are just some of the industries and occupations in which we represent injured employees. If you were hurt while working for a Virginia employer or in the Commonwealth of Virginia, our workers comp attorney can help.
Filing a Workers Compensation Claim
The process for filing a workers compensation claim in Virginia consists of many strict deadlines and formal procedures. Many injured workers are denied the benefits they need because they did not seek advice from a workers comp attorney when filing a workers compensation claim and made a critical mistake.
Get the help of an experienced attorney who is familiar with the proper steps to take after a workplace injury. If you’re proactive from the beginning you increase your chance of getting approved for benefits and negotiating a top-dollar settlement.
If you were injured at work, or if a loved one was killed on the job, you are entitled to a free case evaluation with Corey Pollard. Call Corey Pollard today. As a Virginia workers compensation attorney he has fought for hundreds of injured workers across the state. And he can fight – and win – for you, too.
Call, text, or email us now for a no-obligation, confidential case review.
Virginia Workers Compensation – Frequently Asked Questions
The days and weeks following a workplace accident can be terrifying. Uncertainty over your health and finances can place enormous stress on you and your family. But with preparation, aggressive action, and skilled representation from a Virginia workers compensation attorney, you can overcome the complicated process and the insurance company’s team of attorneys, claims adjuster, and case managers.
If you are ready to file a claim or have already filed a claim for workers compensation benefits you may have many questions. Below are answers to frequently asked questions about workers compensation laws in Virginia.
What Should I Do After Getting Injured at Work?
After suffering a workplace injury in Virginia, you should do two things immediately: get yourself necessary medical treatment to increase your chance of a full recovery and tell your supervisor about your workplace accident in writing.
You should put the following details in writing when first reporting the accident: the date of the accident and injury; the time of day you were hurt; the location where you were hurt; all body parts injured; and, the names of any witnesses. Keep a copy of the written accident report you turn in to your employer.
Under Virginia workers compensation law, you must report your work injury to your employer within 30 days. But the longer you wait to seek medical attention or report your injury to your employer, the greater the likelihood that your employer’s insurance company will deny your claim. Don’t let your supervisor talk you out of reporting all the work injuries you suffered in the accident.
After things have settled down, you should file a claim with both your employer’s insurance company and with the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission. This begins the formal process of obtaining the workers’ compensation benefits you are owed. You have two years from the date of the accident to file your claim.
Can I Choose My Own Doctor after a Work Injury?
Under Virginia workers compensation law your employer has some control over which doctor you treat with after a work injury. But only if your employer complies with certain legal requirements. If your employer does not comply with these requirements then you can choose your own doctor.
For example your employer must provide a list of at least three healthcare providers. The healthcare providers must be close to you geographically. If your employer fails to provide a panel of physicians or the panel is deficient, you can treat with your own doctor. But always consult with a workers compensation attorney before choosing to ignore the employer’s panel of doctors. If you make the wrong decision then the employer is not responsible for the medical care, even if it is related to your covered accident. This can lead to large medical bills.
What Benefits Am I Entitled to Receive for My Work Injury?
If the accident occurred while you were doing a job-related task and during the course and scope of your employment, it should likely be covered by Virginia workers compensation laws. Virginia workers compensation will pay for the following:
- Medical expenses: Virginia workers compensation will pay the full cost of reasonable and necessary medical treatment. Though you may receive a lifetime award of medical benefits for all treatment that is reasonable, necessary, authorized, and related to your work injury, disputes often arise over whether the insurer is responsible for recommended treatment.The insurance company may argue that recommended treatment is unnecessary or that it is unrelated to the work injury, especially in back and knee injury cases where there may be pre-existing arthritis. Because medical treatment is so expensive, it is important that you hire an attorney who will fight to get all your medical costs covered.
- Lost wages: Many work injuries result in lost time from work. Virginia provides income replacement benefits at the rate of two thirds of your average weekly wage. These are called temporary total disability (TTD) benefits. If you are able to return to work but make less because you’re restricted to light duty, Virginia provides income replacement benefits to make up two thirds of the difference.
- Permanent disability: If you suffer a serious injury that prevents you from returning to 100% then you may be entitled to permanent partial disability (PPD) benefits for loss of use or loss of function. If your injury is so severe that you’re unable to return to any type of substantial gainful employment then you may receive wage loss benefits for the rest of your life. Otherwise you may be capped at receiving 500 weeks of wage loss benefits.
- Disfigurement or scarring
- Reimbursement for mileage costs to see your doctor, pick up prescriptions, or meet with the vocational rehabilitation counselor
- Death benefits, including funeral expenses
What Are Common Workers Compensation Mistakes Made by Injured Employees?
Unfortunately too many injured Virginia workers find out months after their workplace accident that they are not entitled to all the available workers compensation benefits because they made a mistake early in the process. Do not let your claim get denied because you made a mistake, did not seek legal counsel, or failed to act because you did not want to upset your boss.
Here is a list of mistakes that you need avoid after your workplace accident:
- Failing to report the work accident and all your injuries right away (do not leave any injuries out).
- Waiting to receive medical treatment.
- Telling the doctor that your workplace injury happened at home because your boss asked you to.
- Making mistakes on your workers compensation claim and other required forms.
- Refusing to follow your treating physician’s advice and being found non-compliant with medical care.
- Going back to your pre-injury work even though your doctor gave you light duty restrictions that prevents you from doing that work.
- Giving a recorded statement.
- Failing to disclose pre-existing conditions or past injuries (it’s not the injury, but the cover up that will get you).
- Believing that the workers compensation insurance company is on your side and interested in helping you get all the benefits you’re entitled to.
- Failing to appeal the workers comp claims adjustor’s denial by filing a claim with the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission.
- Failing to speak with a qualified workers compensation attorney.
Can My Employer Fire Me for Filing a Workers Comp Claim?
No. It is against the law for your employer to fire you for filing a workers compensation claim in Virginia or for participating in workers comp proceedings. This applies to any co-workers who may have witnessed your accident. They can – and should – testify on your behalf without having to worry about losing their job.
Can I Sue My Employer for Causing the Workplace Accident?
Workers compensation is your exclusive remedy. This means an employee cannot bring a personal injury claim against his or her employer. You may, however file a lawsuit against a third party whose negligence caused your injury. For example if you were injured a car wreck while driving for business related reasons, you can sue the driver who hit you while also pursing a workers comp claim.
When Will I Get Paid Wage Loss Benefits?
After you file your claim for benefits the insurance company has 20 days to respond.
If the insurance company denies your claim then you may go months without receiving benefits. You will have to prove that you’re entitled to benefits through mediation or a workers compensation trial.
If the insurance company accepts your claim then you should receive your first check within 14 to 21 days of reporting the injury to your employer. The Virginia Workers’ Compensation Act has a 7-day waiting period. This means you’re not entitled to wage loss benefits until you miss at least 7 days from work because of the injury.
Am I Guaranteed Wage Loss Benefits After My Workers Comp Claim is Approved?
Unfortunately getting approved for benefits is just the start of Virginia workers compensation. You are not guaranteed a specific amount of cash for your workplace injury. At any time your employer’s insurance company may file an application to suspend, modify, or terminate benefits. It may also refuse to cover medical treatment or requests for additional compensation, in which case you will need to file a change in condition application to protect your legal rights.
Workers comp is unlike any other type of lawsuit or litigation. One case can have multiple hearings and claims. Because the situation can change at any moment, it is important to have a workers compensation attorney who can monitor your case and guide you through the complicated procedural rules. An innocent mistake can lead to months without pay. Your attorney can help prevent this.
What Can I Do if My Claim Was Denied?
Frustration, annoyance, and concern are just some of the feelings you may have if your workers compensation claim is denied by the insurance company. Your claim for benefits may be denied if the insurance company:
- Denies that you suffered an actual change to your body in the accident
- Denies that your injury was caused by a specific risk of the employment or in the course of your employment
- Accuses you of fraud
- Blames your injury on misconduct or the violation of a safety rule
- Blames your injury on a preexisting condition
- Believes you filed a claim after the workers comp statute of limitations had expired
The good news is that you have options after the insurance company denies your claim. If the insurance company is slow to respond or denies your claim, you should request a hearing with the Workers Compensation Commission. The Commission will assign your case to a judge who will schedule a hearing within three months.
Having an experienced workers compensation attorney who can aggressively pursue your case through discovery and effectively present your case at trial will give you the best chance possible of getting approved. If your claim is denied at hearing you can pursue an appeal through the full Commission or the Court of Appeals of Virginia.
There are alternative methods to try to resolve a denied workers compensation claim without hearing. The Commission offers issue mediation and full and final settlement mediation services. We have used mediation to resolve many of our clients’ cases.
What Is a Workers Comp Independent Medical Examination (IME)?
Your treating physician’s opinions on your injuries, causation, and work restrictions have a strong influence on whether you win your case, how much you receive in benefits, and the value of your lump sum settlement. If your treating physician is supportive of your claim then the insurance company may request that you submit to an independent medical examination (IME). Under Virginia workers compensation you must attend the IME or you risk forfeiting benefits.
An IME is not independent. The doctor is chosen and paid by the insurance company. Often the IME doctor works with the insurance company to deny that you were as injured as you alleged or that you remain disabled from work. An experienced workers compensation attorney can guide you through this process.
What is an Impairment Rating Evaluation?
An impairment rating evaluation (IRE) is a medical exam requested by either the insurance carrier or your attorney to determine whether you have any impairment due to your workers compensation injuries. You should not undergo an IRE until your doctor has stated that you have reached maximum medical improvement (MMI).
The insurance company is allowed to pick the doctor who performs your IRE but you do not have to settle for the impairment rating they give you. Your workers comp attorney may refer you to another doctor to conduct an IRE. The Commission will then determine which IRE is more appropriate.
If you’re receiving workers compensation in VA the insurer can stop your weekly income replacement benefits or stop covering medical treatment if you refuse to go to an IRE.
What happens if I’m released to light duty work by my physician?
If your treating physician release you to return to work with restrictions and your employer can accommodate the light duty restrictions, you are required to accept the light duty job or you may forfeit benefits. Make sure that you receive a written description of the light duty job so that you can show it to your physician and he or she can determine if it is an appropriate job given your limitations.
Take a copy of your written work restrictions to the light duty job. If your boss asks you to do something outside your work restrictions, refuse and call your attorney.
If you are released to light duty work but are not yet under an award order from the Workers Compensation Commission, discuss the Commissions’s guidelines on looking for light duty work with your attorney and make sure that you follow them to protect your legal rights to wage replacement benefits.
What is a vocational expert or a vocational interview?
A vocational expert, also referred to as a vocational counselor or a vocational rehabilitation counselor, is a person hired by your employer’s insurance company to find you a job within your light duty restrictions or to help you train to gain skills to find a job within your light duty restrictions. Usually you will receive a letter and then a phone call from the vocational counselor to set up a time to meet you.
Call, text, or email a workers compensation attorney immediately if you receive a call from a vocational expert. You have the right to have an attorney present – and absolutely should. The workers’ comp vocational rehabilitation process is full of traps for injured employees. If you make a mistake your benefits may be suspended.
After the initial vocational interview, the vocational counselor will search the local job market to try to find positions that he or she thinks you can do based on your work restrictions, work history, and education. Usually they will send a report to the insurance adjuster with this information, along with your expected earnings in the light duty positions. If the insurance carrier directs them to, the vocational counselor may try to schedule you for interviews. Failure to attend appointments with the vocational counselor or job interview may jeopardize your wage loss benefits.
In our experience many vocational counselors are good. But some will try to push you to interview for or accept jobs that do not fall within your limitations caused by the work injury. This is why you need a workers comp attorney to help you monitor the process and to take the appropriate legal action with the Commission when the vocational counselor is not following the Commission’s Vocational Rehabilitation Guidelines.
Am I Entitled to a Lump Sum Payment for My Work Injury?
The insurance company may offer you a lump sum workers comp settlement to resolve your claim at any time. But often you will need to prove that you suffered a compensable injury by accident and receive an award of benefits before a settlement offer is made.
Only an experienced Virginia workers compensation attorney can tell you how much your workers comp case is worth. You should always consult with one before signing a Petition and Order or Compromise and Release Agreement. When you sign these documents you are giving up your right to future wage loss, permanent disability, and medical benefits. Signing these documents may also impact your receipt of or entitlement to other benefits such as Social Security Disability and Medicare
Why You Need the Best Virginia Workplace Accident Attorney in Your Corner
Just because you have a legitimate injury on the job and cannot work, it does not mean you will receive the workers compensation benefits and lump sum settlement you deserve in Virginia. That’s because your employer’s insurance company can choose to fight your claim – and they often do with the army of lawyers, claims adjustors, and nurse case managers they have on their side. These people are paid to dispute and deny your claim. And if they lose, they’re paid to delay payment while you and your family suffer.
This is why it’s important that you hire a lawyer to fight for your workers compensation if you have been hurt on the job in Virginia. Initial denials are common because the workers compensation insurance company, not the state, is handling your case and deciding whether it wants to pay you benefits. When the insurance company denies your claim, stops your benefits suddenly, or refuses to authorize medical treatment that will help you heal,you are allowed to go to trial before a judge. If you have asked for a hearing and do not have legal representation, call Corey Pollard now. You have the burden of proof in this legal proceeding, and your employer and its insurance company will have an attorney working for them.
If the other side has a lawyer and claim adjustor helping them, you need a lawyer too. Workers compensation attorney Corey Pollard will do everything he can to help you get approved for the benefits you are owed. We have helped more than 1,000 injured and disabled workers get the benefits and medical care they need. And we use our experience to represent you the best way possible.
We know how to gather and develop the medical evidence, file well-supported claims, present an effective theory of the case and story at hearing, and negotiate a lump sum settlement that will help you and your family move forward. We know how to show how weak the insurance company’s defense is and we know how to give you the best chance possible of winning at all hearings and appeals before the Virginia Workers Compensation Commission and the Court of Appeals of Virginia. And we know how to handle your workplace accident case so that you can maximize your recover from other potential sources like long term disability insurance benefits, Social Security Disability benefits, and VRS disability benefits.
An Experienced Virginia Workers Compensation Attorney is Ready to Talk With You
Protect your legal rights by contacting workers compensation attorney Corey Pollard today. He has been named a Rising Star by Virginia Super Lawyers Magazine in the field of Workers Compensation. And there is no obligation to hire us after your free consultation.
To learn more about what our workers comp attorney can do for you, contact us today by phone, text, or e-mail. We meet with clients in Richmond, Newport News, Williamsburg, Hampton, Norfolk, Chesapeake, Suffolk, Virginia Beach, Fredericksburg, Fairfax, Prince William County, Charlottesville, Staunton, Roanoke, and Winchester. And we want to help you and your family today.