Most Virginia employers are required to provide their employees with workers’ compensation to ensure that their medical expenses are covered in the event that they are injured on the job. While many employers are careful to procure appropriate insurance and are eager to help their injured employees get back on their feet, many are not so helpful or understanding. Fortunately, employers are not permitted to fire employees just for filing a workers’ compensation claim and can be held responsible for damages if they violate this rule, so if you or a loved one were recently injured on the job, it is critical to contact an experienced Smithfield workers’ compensation attorney who can protect your interests and explain the process of filing a workers’ compensation claim.
Virginia employers are required to obtain workers’ compensation insurance if they employ three or more people. This ensures that employees who contract an occupational illness or sustain an injury on the job can obtain the medical assistance they need as well as compensation for lost wages if they are required to take time off from work. Virginia is an at-will employment state, which means that employers can fire workers for any or no reason. This may make some employees wary of filing a workers’ compensation claim out of fear that their boss will retaliate by demoting them or firing them altogether. Fortunately, state law strictly prohibits employers from taking retaliatory actions against workers for reasons that violate a statute. Because employees have the right to workers’ compensation as a matter of law and public policy, employers cannot legally terminate a person’s employment, demote them, or subject them to ridicule for filing a valid claim.
The first thing that workers who sustain an employment-related injury should do is seek immediate medical assistance. Some employers may even have on-site medical staff to help their employees in medical emergencies, while others may have made arrangements with a designated off-site physician where injured employees can go for treatment. Otherwise, an injured employee should attempt to obtain appropriate medical assistance on his or her own, which could include an initial examination by a physician or admittance to an emergency room.
During the initial examination, it is crucial that the injured employee explain how and where the injury occurred and the name of his or her employer. The doctor or hospital will then make sure that the bill goes to the worker’s employer and not to the worker him or herself. Injured employees should then notify their employers of the injury as soon as reasonably possible, but no later than one month after the date of the accident. Failing to notify an employer of the injury could result in the claim later being barred. Once an employer is notified of a workplace injury, he or she must file a report with the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission within ten days. The injured employee should also file a claim directly with the Commission within two years of the accident.
After the claim has been reviewed, an injured worker may be eligible to receive the following benefits:
If you were recently injured while on the job, please contact Hampton Injury Law at 757-838-1173 and a member of our dedicated legal team will help you schedule a free consultation with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney.