Employees who suffer on-the-job injuries or illness often assume that the process of filing for workers’ compensation is simple. Many times, this assumption is true: You file your claim and start receiving monetary benefits shortly thereafter. In other situations, you may encounter considerable push-back from your employer or your employer’s workers’ comp insurance company. Your claim may be denied or delayed for improper reasons. You may even need to take your claim to the next level with the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission (VWCC).
While you should always trust a Virginia workers’ compensation attorney regarding the specifics of a denied claim, it is a cause for concern if the denial is based upon one of the following reasons.
Virginia employers must carry workers’ comp insurance if they have more than two full- or part-time employees. Independent contractors are not covered by these laws, so an employer may try to misclassify you to avoid paying your rightful workers’ comp claim. However, the determination of employee versus independent contractor is not as simple as tax treatment, such as whether you get a W-2 or 1099. Instead, the VWCC looks to a four-part test on whether a person is an employee or contractor.
To receive benefits under Virginia’s workers’ comp laws, your medical condition must be:
Your employer could dispute the causes of your injury and assert that you are not eligible for workers’ comp benefits.
Your employer could contest the nature or severity of your injuries, or even suggest that medical treatment is not required. This is often the case if your injuries are not outwardly obvious or hard to verify by lab tests or screenings. You should note that your employer is not your health care provider and thus, is not in a position to offer a diagnosis or recommend treatment. Only a doctor can tell you whether you require medical care after suffering an injury.
Your employer may wrongfully deny your claim on the grounds that your injuries are not severe enough to justify time off. Again, this decision is not up to your employer. Only you and qualified health care practitioners are in charge of assessing your physical limitations and ability to perform job-related tasks.
If your workers’ comp claim was denied, do not give up on the matter without first consulting with a knowledgeable lawyer. Your employer or insurance company may be putting their own financial interests first, instead of looking out for your best interests. An attorney can review your circumstances to determine whether there were valid grounds for the denial, or whether you should take the next steps.
For more information, please call Hampton Injury Law PLC to set up a no-cost case evaluation. A Virginia workers’ compensation attorney can tell you more about your options after reviewing your situation.