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If you have been injured in a workplace accident, do not put off going to the doctor. Minor injuries can become more serious if they are ignored. More importantly, workers’ compensation insurers will point to a failure to seek medical treatment as evidence you were not actually injured. In addition, without a note holding you out of work, you will have no evidence supporting any claim for medical benefits and ongoing disability.
When you meet with a doctor, be specific in your description of how you were injured. Everything you tell the doctor, or their staff, may find its way into your medical records. Some claims are denied based solely on an incorrect statement in a medical record. You may be tempted to downplay the extent of your injuries in the hopes that they will resolve. This may cause the doctor to dismiss your injuries as superficial. Be honest with your doctor, and address all of your injuries, not just the most serious. If you have any concerns about your ability to return to work, discuss this specifically. Always request a work release note if you have any concerns about returning to work. Question any “light duty” restrictions you do not feel are appropriate for your condition.
Most workers’ compensation claims are slow to resolve. You may end up waiting months to get to a hearing to present your case to a deputy commissioner. In that time, you may forget specific details about your accident, your dealings with the insurer, and your medical treatment. Keep accurate notes documenting any contact you have with the employer or their insurer. Insurers sometimes attempt to avoid paying for medical treatment based upon technicalities related to authorizations. Maintaining proper documentation is your best defense in protecting your claim if this happens.
After you seek medical treatment, listen to your doctor. If your doctor tells you to stay home, don’t go back to work. If you go back to work against a doctor’s order, you may cause further injury to yourself. If you fail to abide by your doctor’s instructions, you may jeopardize your claim for medical and wage benefits. To the extent that it can be proven that your disability results from a failure to abide by a doctor’s order, your claim may be denied or limited.
The Virginia Workers’ Compensation Act requires that you notify your employer of a workplace accident in writing within thirty (30) days of the injury or notice from your doctor that you suffered an injury. Keep a copy of anything you provide to the employer. Do not refrain from reporting an accident because you feel that the injury is minor or will resolve on its own. If the injury resolves on its own, no one will care that you reported the injury just to be cautious. In the same light, the failure to report an injury that you believe to be minor could bar your recovery later in the event that things become more serious.
Once you have reported your accident, the employer is required to file a written notification of your accident with the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission within ten (10) days. Request a copy of this accident report. If you see any inaccuracies, report them immediately and request that they be remedied. If the employer will not modify the report, document your disagreement in writing and keep a copy of what you submit for your records.
In Virginia, you have two (2) years from the date of the accident to file a claim for compensation. DO NOT WAIT TO FILE A CLAIM. The longer you wait to file a claim, the more likely it will be that you, your employer, and any witnesses will forget the details regarding your accident. In addition, filing a successful claim will provide you access to lifetime medical benefits and compensate you for any lost wages. This will allow you to seek appropriate medical treatment so that you can recover without worrying about how to pay your bills.
Unfortunately, it is a regular occurrence for insurers to deny claims. The insurer cannot deny your claim in “bad faith.” However, what constitutes a “good faith” reason to deny your claim is less than most people would realize. An insurer can deny your claim for something as trivial as a disagreement about the amount of your pre-injury wage.
Insurance adjusters routinely deny claims that are ultimately found to be compensable. You may have been told that your claim was denied because you “violated a safety rule” (that no one ever told you about) or that you were not “within the course and scope of your employment” at the time of the accident. They may also state that they “contest the nature and extent of your disability.” Most of the time, they have no objective evidence that will hold up to scrutiny. In short, neither the employer, nor the insurer, has the legal authority to deny your claim unilaterally. You always have the ability to hold them to account through legal process.
In Virginia, all workplace injury claims are ultimately decided by the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission. If you have been told that your workers’ compensation claim has been denied, do not accept defeat. Our experienced attorneys can assist you in filing a claim with the Virginia Workers’ Commission to force the insurance carrier to pay you the compensation you are entitled to. We will assist you in all aspects of your claim including collection of your medical records, preparation of answers discovery requests, and hearing preparation.
At the Reed Law Firm, all consultations for workers’ compensation matters are free of charge. We will take the time to discuss your claim, and answer any questions you may have.
In Virginia, a claim for workers’ compensation must be filed within 2 years of the date of the accident. Failure to file a timely claim will bar your claim for compensation. If an insurance company or your employer is denying you workers’ compensation, call our office to schedule a free consultation, as soon as possible, so that we will help you get the compensation you are entitled to.
The client will meet with the attorney to review the current status of the case, develop a plan of action, determine a budget, and formulate a timetable for resolution. The attorney will discuss the client’s specific goals, review any relevant caselaw or statutes related to the litigation and answer the clients questions about the process.
Being party to a lawsuit requires ongoing effort to organize your case through written documents that are submitted to the court and opposing parties. It also may require court appearances to argue pretrial motions. During this stage, we will prepare any pleadings to be submitted to the court, draft discovery requests, responses and objections, issue subpoenas, conduction depositions, and prepare and argue any pretrial motions. This stage typically occupies 70-80% of the total timeline for your case.
This stage includes review of all relevant evidence, preparation of any potential witnesses and the formulation of trial strategy. Our experienced staff will assist in the assembly of trial notebooks that include all documents you intend to present at trial. During this stage, settlement negotiations may take place in an effort to resolve your case without a trial if it is possible.
If your case cannot be resolved through negotiation, a trial will be required. Based upon the plan we develop with you, we will present the evidence and witnesses that we have prepared to present your case in the light most favorable to you. Trials can sometimes have unpredictable outcomes. However, when you hire the Reed Law Firm, you can be confident that the evidence, arguments, and testimony you want to have heard will be presented in a coherent, organized, and compelling way to provide you with the best possible opportunity to win your case.
We offer our legal services to clients working in all industries. This particular client had been working in a warehouse when a forklift ran over his foot, which caused a partial amputation and degloving injury to his foot. Our team protected his rights and helped him receive that compensation that was rightfully due.
Our client was working as a secretary, when she tripped over a box and struck her head forcefully on the corner of a wall. The client sustained severe head and brain injuries, including a concussion and traumatic brain injury. Obtained $865,044.80 in workers’ compensation benefits on behalf of client.
Our client was operating a blown insulation machine at work that jammed. The client attempted to clear the jam, when the machine suddenly restarted causing the amputation of several fingers, and severe hand injuries. Obtained $734,065.02 in workers’ compensation benefits and personal injury proceeds on behalf of client.