What Does Workers’ Compensation Provide?
Virginia workers who are hurt in a workplace accident or who contract an occupational disease qualify for workers’ compensation benefits in Virginia. The Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission administers the state’s workers’ compensation system and adjudicates legal disputes between the parties, including injured workers, employers, insurance carriers, and medical providers.
This article explains the different types of workers’ compensation benefits available to injured workers in Virginia. As you’ll see, these benefits can help you pay your medical bills, replace your income if you miss time from work, deal with a permanent impairment, and receive vocational rehabilitation if you need to transition to a new career. Family members of a worker who has died because of on-the-job injury or illness may qualify for workers’ compensation death and survivors’ benefits.
If you have any questions about the types of workers’ compensation benefits in Virginia, or are looking for legal representation, contact experienced workers comp lawyer Corey Pollard for a free consultation. We’ll guide you through the claims process and help you negotiate a top-dollar workers compensation settlement.
Types of Workers’ Compensation Benefits Available in Virginia
The Virginia Workers’ Compensation Act establishes the amounts of workers’ compensation benefits paid to injured and disabled workers based on their pre-injury earnings and the nature and extent of their injury and disability.
Below is a general outline of the types of Virginia workers’ comp benefits that may be available to you.
Your employer and its insurance carrier must pay for all reasonable, necessary, and authorized medical care related to your work injury. Covered medical treatment includes:
- Emergency room visits
- Diagnostic tests
- Prescription medication
- Prostheses, braces, and assistive devices
- The services of healthcare practitioners, including your surgeon, physician, physician assistant, registered nurse, nurse practitioner, pain management doctor, and others
- Palliative care (medical care that improves your symptoms, even briefly)
- Physical therapy
- Occupational therapy
- Psychological treatment if you suffer from PTSD, depression, or anxiety due to your work injury
- Attendant care
- In-home nursing care
- Chiropractic services
There are no deductibles or co-pays for medical treatment you receive that is related to your work injury. This is an advantage of pursuing workers’ comp benefits for your workplace injury instead of treating through private health insurance.
Vocational Rehabilitation Benefits
If you are unable to return to your regular job and must transition to a different type of work or a job that pays less than you were making before the injury, you may qualify for vocational rehabilitation benefits. Vocational rehabilitation benefits include:
- Job search assistance
- On-the-job training
- Payment of education expenses
- Assistance with your resume and interviewing skills
An injured worker may receive disability benefits if a treating physician determines that the worker is unable to return to his or her regular job for any period or that the injured worker has permanent impairment due to his or her work-related injury.
Workers’ compensation disability benefits are divided into four categories in Virginia:
“Total disability” means that a worker cannot earn a living due to his or her work restrictions and the pre-injury employer’s inability to accommodate any light duty within those restrictions.
“Partial disability” means that a worker is unable to return to his or her pre-injury work and will earn a lower rate of pay because of work restrictions resulting from the injury.
PPD payments are calculated based on the percentage of loss of the injured body part, which is determined by a physical therapist and physician after you have reached maximum medical improvement. That percentage of impairment is applied to the maximum amount of weekly benefits allowed for the specific injury.
PTD payments are available if an injured worker satisfies the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission’s definition of “permanent and total” disability after receiving 500 weeks of combined TTD, TPD, and PPD payments. The definition of permanent and total disability is specific and requires both medical and vocational evidence.
Workers’ compensation disability payments are capped at two-thirds of the difference between a worker’s pre-injury and post-injury weekly income. High wage earners are penalized under the Workers’ Compensation Act. Their workers’ compensation disability benefits are often lower than two-thirds of their pre-injury average weekly wage due to the maximum compensation rate, which is determined on a yearly basis.
An injured worker may receive cash benefits for scarring or permanent damage to the body not otherwise covered under Virginia’s PPD rules.
At most an injured worker can receive up to 60 weeks of compensation at two-thirds of their pre-injury average weekly wage due to scarring or permanent disfigurement.
If a worker dies from an injury sustained in a workplace accident or from the progression of an occupational illness, his or her survivors may receive death benefits from workers’ compensation.
The amount of the benefit is based on two-thirds of the deceased worker’s weekly salary plus annual cost of living adjustments and may be paid for up to 500 weeks depending on the survivor’s relationship to the deceased worker.
The workers’ compensation death benefit also includes money for funeral and burial expenses.
Who Pays Workers’ Compensation Benefits in Virginia?
Employers are responsible for providing the different types of workers compensation benefits available in Virginia.
Virginia has a private workers’ compensation system. There is no state insurance fund that offers workers’ compensation insurance to employers.
An employer subject to the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Act has two choices: (1) purchase insurance from a private insurance carrier or (2) become a self-insured employer. Virginia allows employers with sufficient resources to self-insure for workers’ compensation claims. These self-insured employers, or their third party administrators, are responsible for paying benefits to injured workers.
Private workers’ comp insurance carriers are regulated by the state. This means that the state has the ability to control and set workers compensation insurance premiums and to establish the benefits required by statute. Private insurers are not required to provide insurance to every employer, especially if they believe that the employer is too much of a risk.
Premiums vary based on the risks of the specific jobs being insured and the employer’s experience rating. The experience rating is based on the employer’s past history of workers’ compensation claims and insurance losses, as measured by payments made to injured workers, medical providers, and third-party vendors.
Regardless of whether an employer is self-insured or purchases workers’ compensation insurance from a private insurance company, an injured worker is never responsible for paying for costs associated with Virginia workers’ compensation coverage directly. In practice, however, an employer may pay lower wages or charge more for its goods or services to offset some of the workers compensation premium costs.
Contact a Virginia Workers’ Compensation Benefits Lawyer Now!
The Virginia Workers’ Compensation Act is written to protect employees who have been injured or become ill on the job. But the process of filing a workers’ compensation claim for benefits and navigating the complex rules and regulations that govern Virginia workers’ compensation benefits can be daunting.
It is easy to make a mistake when applying for workers’ compensation benefits that will harm your case. That’s why you should contact workers’ compensation benefits attorney Corey Pollard to assist you throughout the claims process. We are here to help you get the compensation and medical care you deserve.
If you or someone you love is dealing with a workplace injury or disease, call experienced Virginia workers’ compensation benefits lawyer Corey Pollard at (804) 251-1620 or fill out our contact form to your right. We will respond within 24 hours. We know how serious your workers’ compensation claim is to you. And we treat it like we would our own.
We represent injured workers across Virginia, including in Richmond, Chesterfield, Mechanicsville, Fredericksburg, Charlottesville, Williamsburg, Petersburg, Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, Chesapeake, Virginia Beach, and Roanoke. Call now to see how top-ranked workers compensation attorney Corey Pollard has helped hundreds of injured workers obtain top-dollar Virginia workers compensation settlements.