Proven Northern Virginia Worker’s Compensation Lawyer For Filing Job Injury Claims
On-the-job injuries are extremely common throughout the United States, and Northern Virginia is no exception. Some industries, such as construction work, are particularly dangerous. If you are injured on the job, the Northern Virginia worker’s compensation system offers certain advantages not offered by the ordinary personal injury compensation system.
The main advantage of seeking compensation from your employer under workers’ compensation is that you do not have to prove that your employer was at fault to qualify for compensation. The workers’ compensation claim bureaucracy, however, is very different from the ordinary personal injury compensation system, and you are likely to need a trusted Northern Virginia workers compensation lawyer to help you navigate its Byzantine corridors for optimal results.
I was Injured at Work. What Do I Do Next?
- Notify your employer (supervisor, foreman, etc.) as soon as possible after you become injured.
- Seek medical attention immediately.
- File your workers’ compensation claim promptly.
- Do not give a recorded statement to any insurance company, unless your personal injury attorney is present.
- Do not talk about your case with anyone except your lawyer, your lawyer’s assistant, and your doctors.
- Keep your appointments with your doctors.
- Get a disability slip every time you go to the doctor.
- If your doctor releases you to light-duty work, immediately contact your employer.
- Stay with your treating doctor.
- Inform your attorney if you return to work in any capacity.
- Keep track of all workers’ compensation checks you receive.
- Send your work injury attorney copies of any medical bill you receive at home.
- Inform your attorney about any other changes, including health conditions.
- Contact your attorney’s office about any change of address or phone number.
What are the Benefits of Workers’ Compensation?
Workers’ compensation is designed to provide injured workers with monetary benefits and medical treatment for job-related injuries rather than the injured worker filing a lawsuit against the employer.
The benefits of workers’ compensation include the following:
- The process tends to be quicker than traditional litigation.
- You do not need to prove that anyone was at fault for the injury.
- The injured worker receives benefits during the course of treatment for the injury.
However, these benefits are limited. If you are injured on the job, you cannot receive additional damages such as pain and suffering that you would under civil litigation. It is important that you discuss your situation with a highly knowledgeable Northern Virginia workers’ compensation lawyer at our law firm.
Are There Different Types of Workers’ Comp Benefits?
Workers injured on the job may receive assistance under any of the five types of workers’ compensation benefits:
- Temporary total disability – Cannot work in any capacity, disability is temporary.
- Temporary partial disability – Cannot work in former position in full capacity, disability is temporary.
- Permanent total – Cannot work in any capacity, disability is permanent.
- Permanent partial – Cannot work in former position in full capacity, disability is permanent.
- Disfigurement/mutilation – Some extra benefits are available under this clause. See our page on filing a third-party claim for additional information and workers’ compensation help on pursuing damages that may be beyond workers’ comp.
How to Qualify For Worker’s Compensation in Northern Virginia
Virginia state law requires that injured workers notify their employers in writing immediately or as soon as practicable after the injury. Such notice should include the:
- Employee’s name and address
- Location, time, nature, and cause of the accident and injury
This notice must be filed with the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission. The statute of limitations for filing workers’ comp claims in Virginia is two years, making it important to file your claim promptly.
Why was my Workers’ Comp Claim Denied?
Workers’ compensation claims can be denied for a variety of reasons. Two of the most common are:
- The claim was not filed on time
- The worker provided insufficient or incorrect documentation
Even if a claim is filed on time, in the proper jurisdiction and with all required documentation, the employer or its insurance company may still dispute it by arguing that a worker’s injury or illness if it:
- Is not work-related
- Did not occur at the job site
- Resulted from the employee’s own negligent behavior
- Is a pre-existing condition
- Does not exist at all
Don’t Settle for Less Than You Deserve for Your Northern Virginia Worker’s Compensation Case
“Winning” your claim is one thing. Getting what you deserve is another. The workers’ compensation bureaucracy reacts in much the same way as a private insurance company does when faced with a claim: it will try to deny or minimize it. Even if you win, you may end up with a lot less than you need. This is especially likely if you are permanently injured and unable to return to your previous job duties.
Never fear. At Koonz McKenney Johnson & DePaolis LLP, we’ve been doing this for decades and we know the system inside out. Put more specifically, our proven Northern Virginia workers compensation attorneys know how to calculate the true value of your claim and how to negotiate with the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission to make sure that you don’t end up with even a dime less than you are entitled to.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
I want to claim damages for pain and suffering. Will workers’ compensation allow this?
No, unfortunately, it won’t – but that might not be the end of the story. You might be able to make an end run around the workers’ compensation system and file an ordinary personal injury lawsuit if, for example:
- You were injured by a defective product.
- You were working on a site owned or managed by a third party, in which case you might file a premises liability claim.
- You were injured by the negligence of a third party.
Should I accept a lump sum settlement?
In some cases, an injured worker is eligible for a lump sum settlement. As tempting as that may sound, you should never accept such an offer without carefully considering it and without consulting with a lawyer first. Once you accept a lump sum settlement, you will never be eligible to claim additional wage loss or medical benefits for your injury. Lump sum settlements are particularly dangerous for people who suffer injuries that might require expensive long-term medical care.
It is important to fully evaluate the long-term cost of your injury, both in terms of how much it would cost you if you had no outside income or medical insurance to cover you in the future, and in how much it would cost the workers’ compensation insurance company over your lifetime if you refused to settle. Further, although the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (commonly known as, “Obamacare”) requires health insurance companies to cover “pre-existing conditions” most health insurance plans specifically exclude coverage for “work-related injuries” and may not cover your medical treatment in the future, even after settlement of your workers’ compensation case.
I was injured by malfunctioning equipment. Do I have a workers’ compensation claim?
Maybe you do. You might also have a products liability claim against the equipment manufacturer. This could render you eligible for much higher compensation than workers’ compensation would allow if you were seriously injured.
Can I collect workers’ compensation from my client’s policy if I was injured at my client’s workplace?
Normally, independent contractors are responsible for purchasing their own workers’ compensation insurance. It may be possible, however, to claim against your client for premises liability (you would have to prove negligence) or to get yourself classified as an employee rather than an independent contractor (a court makes this decision) so that you can claim under your client’s workers’ compensation insurance.
Justice Delayed Is Often Justice Denied – Contact a Skilled Northern Virginia Worker’s Compensation Lawyer Today!
When you become aware that you have an injury claim, it is important to act quickly. Yes, it is true that the statute of limitations in most cases allows you to file a lawsuit within two years of your injury (sometimes longer). Nevertheless, there are many benefits to filing your claim as soon as you have gathered enough evidence to support it.
If you have suffered an on-the-job injury in Northern Virginia contact us online for a free initial consultation with our highly skilled Northern Virginia workers compensation attorneys. We serve clients from Mantua, Kent Gardens, Greenbriar, and Mosby Woods, to name a few local neighborhoods where many of our former clients reside. And remember: if you don’t win your case, your total legal fees from us will be zero.
What Our Clients Say
“You have taught me so much about patience and the law. My wife and I both believe you have done an excellent job watching out for our best interests. It’s because of your hard work that we have had about the best year since the start of this whole mess.” – Koonz McKenney Johnson & DePaolis LLP client.