Virginia Workers’ Compensation – Information and Articles to Help Injured Workers

 

Contact Workers Comp Attorney Corey Pollard When You Need Help Receiving Workers Comp Benefits or a Lump Sum Settlement after a Workplace Accident 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. Maybe you are limited to doing light duty work for the rest of your life. Or maybe your wage loss 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 work 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 work injury attorney, who knows how to prove to the Virginia Workers Compensation 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 workers compensation attorney Corey Pollard and our workplace accident law firm for a free, no obligation consultation with one of the best workplace accident lawyers in Virginia. We’re ready to help you win and get fair compensation for injuries suffered in your work accident!

 

Virginia Workers Compensation Overview: The Legal Process in Workers Compensation Cases and How Our Workers Comp Attorney Can Help

 

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 in fatal work accidents.

 

Over half of all work injuries and occupational illnesses resulted in days missed from work or the need for light duty restrictions.

 

Here at home, Virginia workers suffered more than 62,000 work injuries last year alone. These injuries ranged from minor ligament sprains and back injuries to aggravation of arthritis and other pre-existing conditions to fractures and traumatic brain injuries to amputation injuries, vision loss, 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. This isn’t surprising since workers compensation covers more than 97% of Virginia employees.

 

Virginia workers compensation attorney Corey Pollard has represented injured employees in hundreds of workers compensation claims arising out of workplace accidents. So our work injury law firm is familiar with the legal process. Please keep reading for an overview of what you can expect during each step of this process. And remember, workers compensation is a serious matter where you have a lot on the line. Do not rely on this article to get the wage loss benefits and medical treatment you deserve. Contact our office right away so that our top-rated work accident lawyer can help you build your case.

 

Injured at Work in Virginia?

 

There are two ways to recover workers compensation benefits in Virginia: 1) by proving that you suffered an injury by accident arising out of and in the course of your employment or 2) by proving that you have acquired an occupational disease related to your work. Both theories of recovery may require an experienced workplace accident lawyer.

 

Not sure whether you have suffered an injury by accident or an occupational illness? Take the quiz below.

 

Do you know:

 

  • What happened?
  • Where you were when it happened?
  • When it happened?
  • Why it happened?
  • And how you got hurt?

 

If so then you suffered an injury by accident. Read our article on common work injuries in Virginia for more information.

 

What are Common Work Accidents in Virginia?

 

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 accidents
  • Dock accidents
  • Electrocution and electrical accidents
  • Falling off ladders and heights
  • Fires and explosions
  • Forklift accidents
  • Hospital accidents
  • Industrial accidents
  • Ladder accidents
  • Overexertion (from lifting, pushing, pulling, carrying, or throwing too much)
  • Scaffold accidents
  • Slip & fall accidents on dangerous surfaces
  • Warehouse accidents
  • Welding accidents
  • Workplace violence

 

As you can see, your work injury 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. Workers compensation attorney Corey Pollard represents employees who were hurt in all types of work accidents in Virginia and across the nation.

 

What if I Answered No to Some of the Virginia Workman’s Comp Quiz Questions?

 

If you do not know the answers to each of those questions, then you may have an occupational illness. Common occupational illnesses include carpal tunnel syndrome due to repetitive motion, hearing loss due to working in a loud environment, and asthma or chronic pain due to exposure to fumes or mold. Though these claims are less common than workers comp claims based on workplace accidents, our workplace accident lawyer can still help you.

 

I’m in Pain

 

If you’re in pain after your work accident, seek medical attention right away. You should go to the doctor or hospital immediately.

 

Even if you’re not in pain after your workplace accident we still recommend that you seek medical care to get evaluated.

 

What Do I Tell the Doctor When I Get There?

 

When you see the medical provider, make sure you tell him or her that you were injured at work. The medical record generated at your first appointment is an important part of proving your workers comp case. If the note does not mention a work injury, then you will have a difficult time obtaining the benefits you deserve. It doesn’t matter how good your Virginia workplace accident lawyer is.

 

The medical provider should contact your employer or the workers compensation insurance company when you tell him or her that you were hurt at work. Under Virginia workers compensation you do not have to pay any co-pays at your appointments and the medical provider cannot bill you for any charges written off by the workers compensation insurance carrier.

 

What Happens After I See the Doctor for My Work Injury?

 

If you haven’t done so already, report your work accident to your boss, supervisor, or the employer’s safety director. You have 30 days to report your accident and injuries. Wait too long and you may forfeit your right to workers compensation benefits.

 

We recommend that you put notice of the accident and injuries in writing. And keep a copy for your work injury lawyer.

 

Next, you should file a workers compensation claim with the Virginia Workers Compensation Commission. The process for filing a claim consists of many strict deadlines and formal procedures. You have two years from the date of the accident to file a claim. This is known as the workers compensation statute of limitations.

 

We recommend seeking advice from a workplace accident lawyer who is familiar with the process and can make sure you avoid critical mistakes.

 

What if I’ve Developed an Occupational Disease and Did Not Suffer a Workplace Accident?

 

The legal process for occupational illness claims differs from injury by accident claims.

 

Most occupational illnesses are caused by one of the following:

 

  • Doing the same thing over and over (repetitive motion or overuse injuries)
  • Being exposed to toxic fumes, gas, or substances that impact your lungs or other body organs
  • Having a stressful job (this applies to cops, firefighters, and first responders who are entitled to the heart and lung presumption and the cancer presumption).
  • Hearing loud noises at work over extended periods

 

Common occupational illnesses in Virginia include:

 

  • Heart disease
  • Lung disease
  • Cancer
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Asthma
  • Toxic mold exposure
  • Respiratory disease
  • Hypertension
  • Stroke

 

You do not have to report your occupational disease to the employer until a medical provider communicates that your disease is related to your employment.

 

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. We encourage you to hire a work accident lawyer with experience in these types of claims because they are even more difficult to win.

 

How Do I Prove that I Have an Occupational Illness in Virginia?

 

You prove that you have contracted an occupational illness the same way you prove that you suffered an injury by accident – through your testimony, the testimony of witnesses, and the medical evidence.

 

If you think that you are sick because of your work duties, then go see a doctor. Tell the doctor the following:

 

1. Your job duties (i.e. what you do at work);

2. How often you have to do the job duties or are exposed to different substances and conditions; and,

3. How long you have been doing them.

 

Your doctor can use this information to decide whether your symptoms and limitations are related to the work you do.

 

If your doctor believes that you have a work-related illness, then contact a workplace accident lawyer right away. You do not have long to file a claim – and occupational disease claims are complicated. This is especially true if you are diagnosed with an ordinary disease of life, which has a higher burden of proof in workers comp.

 

I Can’t Work Because I Was Hurt at Work

 

When you miss time from work because of an industrial accident or occupational illness, you may get up to 2/3 of your average weekly gross wages paid to you – up to the maximum amount of weekly money set by the Workers’ Compensation Commission that year. This money is tax free and referred to as temporary total disability benefits.

 

You can continue receiving this money while you are out of work until a doctor says that you are no longer disabled or the employer finds you a job within your light duty restrictions.

 

Though your own doctor may be supportive, the insurance company may send you to a doctor of their own choosing. This is known as an IME (Independent Medical Exam), though there’s nothing independent about it. IME doctors usually see you just one time but can affect your workers compensation case. A workers compensation attorney can help you minimize the impact of an unfavorable IME doctor.

 

I Got Hurt at Work But Can Work Now

 

In our experience many clients would rather go back to work than stay at home and collect wage loss benefits. If you’re able to continue working after an injury or are able to recover and return to work after the accident, then great! Do so.

 

You may be able to receive workers compensation money while you are working depending on the type of work injury you suffered. For example, you can receive permanent partial disability benefits if you hurt your eyes, ears, arms, shoulders, hands, fingers, legs, feet, ankles, or toes at work and have permanent loss of use of them – even if you continued to work. These benefits are paid when you reach MMI (maximum medical improvement).

 

Sound confusing? It is. The Workers Compensation Commission has issued thousands of opinions on these issues.

 

The good news is that you don’t have to figure it out alone. Workers comp attorney Corey Pollard can help if you were hurt in Virginia or while working for a Virginia employer outside the state.

 

My Injury Was Minor. Can I File a Claim?

 

We encourage you to file a claim for workers compensation even if you think your injury was minor and even if you did not miss much time from work.

 

There are two reasons for this:

 

  1. Seemingly minor injuries have a way of becoming major injuries if ignored or not treated properly. By establishing that you suffered a work injury early on, you protect yourself financially and medically if things get worse. You’ll wish you had tax free workers comp benefits if your condition worsens.
  2. Medical bills are expensive. Make the workers compensation insurance company act responsibly and pay for medical treatment related to your employment.

 

Workplace accident lawyer Corey Pollard can help you file the claim and make sure that all the appropriate paperwork is completed on time.

 

Can I Settle My Workers Compensation Claim? I’m Ready to Move on With My Life.

 

Virginia workers comp cases can go on for years. They are often draining for the injured employee and his or her family because the insurance company is allowed to stop benefits suddenly in some cases and deny treatment at almost any point. Though the injured employee may prove that he or she is entitled to the treatment or benefits, it can take several months and a workers compensation hearing to get a favorable resolution.

 

For these reasons, and several others, it may make sense to negotiate a workers compensation settlement that resolves your claim. Don’t enter into these negotiations lightly. A settlement not only affects your current financial and medical treatment situation but also your right to other types of disability benefits and even Medicare coverage. Contact a work comp attorney with a track record of success to help you get every penny you deserve.

 

How Do You Find the Right Work Accident Lawyer in Virginia?

 

If you watch television, listen to the radio, or search online, then you know there are many attorneys out there asking for your business. With so much information – and disinformation – out there it can be difficult to find the right work injury attorney for your case.

 

Whatever you do, don’t hire a workers compensation attorney based on their advertising. It doesn’t take much to put together a tv commercial or radio spot. And the quality or quantity of the advertisement doesn’t mean that attorney is the right fit for you.

 

So how can you find the right work accident attorney in your city or state who will obtain the best possible resolution in your case? By asking specific questions when you interview potential attorneys.

 

Workers compensation is a complex field. Attorneys who just dabble in it – such as general practitioners, personal injury attorneys, family lawyers, criminal defense lawyers, and bankruptcy attorneys – do not have the expertise and specialized knowledge necessary to provide the legal representation you need. Handling five, ten, or even just fifteen workers compensation claims each year does not give an attorney enough experience to navigate workers compensation and related matters, such as Social Security Disability, Long-Term Disability, and Virginia Retirement System Disability claims.

 

Why hire a lawyer whose practice does not focus on workers’ compensation? The insurance company, with its teams of adjusters, nurse case managers, and defense attorneys, have tons of data and information. They know which attorneys are experts in workers’ compensation and which aren’t. If they know you’ve hired a qualified and experienced workers compensation attorney, then they know you’ll have effective representation at your workers comp hearing and will not stop until you’re offered an award agreement or top-dollar workers compensation settlement.

 

As a former insurance defense attorney, I know that one of the first questions that some insurance adjusters ask is, “Who is representing the injured worker?” There is a reason they ask this. They want to know whether they’re in a for a battle or whether they’re dealing with an inexperienced attorney who is outmatched by their defense team. You want them to know you’re ready to fight for every workers compensation benefit you’re owed.

 

Finding Qualified Virginia Workers Compensation Attorneys Near You

 

You have to find qualified workplace accident lawyers to interview before choosing the right workers comp attorney for you. Here are some tips on how to find a qualified workplace accident lawyer near you:

 

  • Search the Internet. Whether you’re looking for movie times, a good restaurant, or a lawyer, most of us begin our search on the internet. Check out an attorney’s website and the information available. Is the website simply for advertising purposes or does it offer real information that people can use to get the medical treatment, wage loss benefits, and permanent disability benefits they’re owed? Is the attorney a good writer? Has he or she received any reviews? You probably want to choose the attorney whose website answers important questions about the work injury process and provides articles on important issues that arise during claims.

 

  • Get a Referral from Another Lawyer. Many of our clients have never been through the workers’ compensation process before, but they have needed a lawyer to help them with other legal matters. Even though your former lawyer may not handle workers’ compensation, he or she has likely heard of the best attorneys in your area for work injuries and can point you in the right direction. We often provide referrals to other lawyers for injured workers who need help with traffic law or family law matters.

 

  • Super Lawyers or Other Peer-Rated Review Sites. Some organizations ask lawyers to rate or identify other attorneys who are known for high-quality work in their respective practice areas. Check out the criteria for making it on a list. If the criteria includes reviews from other attorneys, then it may be a good source to find a qualified workers comp attorney.

 

There are other ways to find a list of potential attorneys – the Yellow Pages, online directories, and local bar associations. But there is no barrier to join these lists, so they’re not always the best source for finding a qualified work injury attorney.

 

What Questions Should I Ask an Attorney Before Hiring Him or Her for My Virginia Workers Compensation Case?

 

There are several questions you may want to ask an attorney before hiring him or her to represent you in your workplace accident claim. Below are some questions that you need to ask before deciding whether you’ve found the right workers compensation attorney:

 

  • How many workers’ compensation cases have you handled and over what time period? You want someone who has handled many cases and who does so on a consistent basis. An attorney who has handled hundreds of workers comp claims, but only a few in the past five years, may be out of touch with the current case law and may not have experience dealing with the defense attorney or insurance adjuster handling your case.

 

  • Do you have a written guide that explains the workers’ compensation process in Virginia? If you hire a qualified and experienced lawyer, then he or she may spend a lot of time in court, negotiating at settlement mediations, or deposing witnesses. You may have to wait up to 24 hours to get a call back. We understand that sometimes you don’t want to have to wait for an answer to your question. That’s why we’ve created a written guide that explains the steps involved in a Virginia workers’ compensation claim and published numerous articles on our website -to help you get accurate and up-to-date information as soon as possible.

 

  • Do you work on a contingency basis? The days, weeks, and months after a work accident can be filled with uncertainty and stress. You don’t know if you’ll ever recover and be able to return to work. And you don’t know how you’ll pay for food, shelter, and your medical bills. We understand that, which is why we work on a contingency basis. We don’t get paid unless you get benefits. We recommend that you avoid a workers compensation attorney who wants to charge you by the hour. Read our article on workers comp attorney fees for more information.

 

  • Have you represented insurance companies in the past? This can be a good thing. A Virginia workplace accident lawyer who has represented insurance companies in the past may have a better idea of insurance defense tactics and how your employer’s particular insurance company and claims adjuster value cases. This can be helpful at hearing and in negotiating a resolution.

 

  • What’s your philosophy on settlement? Most workers comp cases do – and should – settle. And though you do want a lawyer with a track record of success in negotiating full and final settlements and navigating the Workers Compensation Medicare Set-Aside Arrangement (MSA) process, you don’t want a lawyer who pushes settlement from the beginning. It’s important that you reach maximum medical improvement (MMI) before settling your case so that you have a better idea of your permanent restrictions and future medical expenses related to your work injuries.

 

  • Who does most of the work on my case? Will the workers comp attorney you speak with handle your case, including the deposition, hearing, and all motions and briefs. Or will an associate attorney handle your work injury case. You should want the senior attorney to handle your case.

 

What Qualities Will the Work Accident Lawyer Have?

 

Great workplace accident attorneys come in all different personalities, ages, and styles. But most have the following three characteristics:

 

  • Experience and command of all Virginia workers compensation laws and situations, including the initial claim for benefits, change in condition applications, vocational rehabilitation, employer applications for hearings, evidentiary hearings, and settlements.

 

  • Experience actually trying cases before the Workers’ Compensation Commission and the Court of Appeals of Virginia – and knowledge of third party personal injury lawsuits.

 

  • Respect of former clients and other attorneys.

 

For more information you can also read our list of things that a good workers compensation attorney will do for you.

 

So take your time after your work injury, do your homework, and choose the right workplace accident attorney for you and your family. Get an expert and specialist in workers compensation not a generalist.

 

Get the Best Virginia Workers Compensation Attorney in Your Corner

 

Just because you have a legitimate injury on the job and cannot work, 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 work accident attorney to fight for you 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 workers comp 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 an attorney 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 work accident case so that you can maximize your recovery from other potential sources like long term disability, Social Security Disability, and VRS disability benefits.

 

Protect your legal rights by contacting workers injury attorney Corey Pollard today. He has been named one of the best workers compensation lawyers in Virginia. And we provide free consultations to employees hurt on the job in all occupations, including:

 

  • Airline workers
  • Carpenters
  • Construction workers
  • City and state employees
  • Cleaning professionals, including janitors and custodians
  • Electricians
  • Factory workers
  • Firefighters
  • Food Lion employees
  • Food service workers
  • Grocery store employees
  • Healthcare workers, including nurses
  • HVAC workers
  • Kroger employees
  • Maintenance workers
  • Metal workers
  • Office workers and administrative staff
  • Oil and gas workers
  • Police officers
  • Railroad workers
  • Sanitation workers
  • Shipyard workers
  • Target employees
  • Tractor-trailer drivers and long haul truckers
  • Transit workers
  • Union workers
  • Utility workers
  • Walmart workers
  • Warehouse workers
  • Welders

 

 

Don’t delay. Call now to get justice! Then check out our list of Virginia Workers Compensation Frequently Asked Questions to help you prepare for your first meeting.

 

 

Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim in Virginia

 

The articles below are meant to help those of you who have either filed a workers’ comp claim or are thinking of filing a workers’ comp claim because of your work accident.

 

How Do I Know if My Injury is Covered under Workers’ Comp?

 

You may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits if you suffer an injury by accident arising out of and in the course of your employment.

 

Can I Get Fired for Filing a Workers’ Comp Claim?

 

No. Your employer cannot terminate your employment solely because you filed a workers’ comp claim or testified at a workers’ compensation hearing. Your employer may, however, start to look for other reasons to discipline or fire you. That’s why it’s important to hire an experienced attorney who will protect your rights.

 

Virginia Workers’ Compensation Jurisdiction

 

The Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission has jurisdiction over all work-related injuries in Virginia, except those injuries that occur on navigable waters or defense bases, or those suffered by federal employees. The Commission also has jurisdiction over work-related injuries suffered by employees out-of-state when those employees work for an employer based in Virginia or have signed a contract providing Virginia with jurisdiction over the workers’ comp claim.

 

Workers’ Compensation Statute of Limitations

 

You must file a workers’ compensation claim within two years of the date of your injury. If you’re filing a change in condition claim then you must file within two years of the date you were last paid pursuant to an Award Order entered by the Commission.

 

The Workers’ Comp Claims Process

 

There are many stages in the Virginia workers’ comp claims process. We guide you through the workers’ compensation claims adjudication process from start to finish.

 

When to Notify Your Employer of a Work Accident

 

You should notify your employer that you were hurt at work as soon as possible. You may forfeit your right to benefits if you do not give written notice to your employer within 30 days of your work injury or within 60 days of the date you are diagnosed with a disease and told that it’s related to your employment.

 

Letter Reporting a Work Injury to Your Employer

 

Use this letter template to notify your employer of a work-related injury.

 

Virginia Workers’ Compensation Forms

 

Workers’ compensation is a form-intensive practice. We provide a list of the most important Virginia workers’ compensation forms and their purpose.

 

Can I File a Change in Condition Claim if My Health or Work Status Change?

 

You may reopen your workers’ comp claim if your physical or mental condition changes, or if your work status changes. This is done by filing a change in condition application with the Commission.

 

Your Virginia Workers’ Compensation Case

 

 

Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission

 

The Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission will have jurisdiction over your case. This means that a deputy commissioner or the Commissioners will decide whether you’re entitled to the indemnity benefits and medical treatment that you’re seeking.

 

4 Types of Workers’ Compensation Claims

 

Though every Virginia workers’ compensation case is different, all claims fall within one of these four categories. By determining the type of workers’ compensation claim you have, your attorney can develop a strategy that maximizes your claim’s value and the amount of your workers’ compensation settlement.

 

Workers’ Compensation Deadlines

 

Every Virginia workers’ compensation case has two components: procedural and substantive. Before you can prove the substantive part of your workers’ comp claim, you must first satisfy all procedural requirements, including deadlines.

 

Parties to a Workers’ Comp Claim

 

There are at least four parties that play an important role in every Virginia workers’ compensation case: the claimant (that’s you); the employer (that’s the person or company you worked for at the time of your injury); your employer’s insurance company (that’s who will pay the benefits owed); and, the Workers’ Compensation Commission (that’s who will resolve any disputes between the other parties).

 

Award Agreements

 

The parties may agree to resolve a pending claim through an Award Agreement form. Make sure the Award Agreement is complete and accurate. And do not let up on the insurance company until the Commission has approved the Award Agreement and entered an Award Order.

 

Settlement vs. Stipulation

 

Sometimes the parties want to resolve a pending claim, change in condition application, or employer’s application for hearing, but do not want to settle the case. This is done through a stipulation. We explain the difference between a stipulation, which is often used to resolve claims for permanent partial disability, and a workers’ compensation settlement, which closes your case in full.

 

Workers’ Compensation Hearings

 

In many cases the injured worker, employer, and insurer are unable to resolve all the issues. In those cases the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission will hear testimony presented at a workers’ compensation hearing and issue a written decision.

 

Workers’ Compensation Defenses

 

Virginia workers’ compensation offers employers and insurers several defenses against claims for benefits. We explain the workers’ compensation defenses raised by employers and insurance carriers at hearing, and give you tips on how to defeat the defense.

 

Willful Misconduct Defense

 

Though negligence is not a component of Virginia workers’ compensation, the employer and insurer can argue that your willful misconduct caused your injury and as such, you are not entitled to benefits. The willful misconduct defense may be based on your intoxication, violation of a safety rule, or self-inflicted injury. We explain how to defeat the willful misconduct defense.

 

Looking for Work While on Light Duty

 

Those of you who have been released to light duty work after your work injury but have not received an Award Order from the Commission must conduct a good faith job search to receive wage loss benefits. We explain what you must do to market your light duty capacity and how to prove that you satisfied the Commission’s Guidelines on Looking for Light Duty Work at hearing.

 

Workers’ Compensation Appeals

 

Your case may not be won or loss at the workers’ compensation hearing. All parties have the right to appeal the deputy commissioner’s decision to the full Commission and the full Commission’s decision to the Court of Appeals of Virginia.

 

Light Duty

 

When you’re released to light duty work, you may have certain obligations depending on whether you’re under an award for temporary total disability benefits or not. We explain how your case changes when you’ve been released to light duty work.

 

Vocational Rehabilitation

 

In theory vocational rehabilitation is a good thing for both injured workers and employers. In practice it is a trap for injured workers and can lead to the suspension of benefits. This article guides you through what to expect when the vocational rehabilitation provider calls.

 

Can My Employer Force Me Back to Work?

 

Employers and insurance companies look for ways to control costs in the Virginia workers’ compensation process. One such way is to try to force an injured employee back to work before he or she is ready medically, or to offer a job that is not within the employee’s light duty restrictions. This article explains your rights and responsibilities.

 

Employer’s Application for Hearing

 

There are situations where the employer and insurance company can cut off your wage loss benefits and medical treatment under the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Act. But if you’re under an open award for benefits, they cannot do so until they file an Employer’s Application for Hearing. We explain what to do when an Employer’s Application for Hearing is filed.

 

Expedited Hearing Request

 

Many Americans live paycheck to paycheck. When your workers’ comp benefits are stopped or you are taken back out of work due to your work injury, you need income right away. If you’ve already proven that you suffered a compensable injury or occupational disease under Virginia workers’ compensation, you can ask for an expedited hearing.

 

Closing Out Your Workers’ Compensation Case

 

Many workers’ compensation cases never close. But that won’t stop some insurance adjusters from telling you that your case is closed so that you’ll give up. We explain how to know whether your Virginia workers’ compensation claim is open or closed.