Following an accident at work, you may have many questions on your mind. Before anything else, the first step would be to get medical care for your injuries. Virginia’s workers’ compensation system is fairly straightforward, but since your settlement would be paid by your employer’s insurance carrier, things won’t be easy. Before you start the claims process, consider talking to an experienced Newport News workers comp lawyer to know your rights. Here are five key pointers that would come in handy.
- Don’t forget to notify your employer. Injured workers in Virginia are required to inform their employer of their injury within 30 days from the date of the accident. While that may look like a considerably long time, you should notify your employer at the earliest. Delays may make it hard to prove that your injuries are a result of the workplace accident.
- You cannot sue your employer. That’s correct. Just because you were injured at work doesn’t mean you can sue your employer for their negligence. In Virginia, employers enjoy that immunity because they are paying for workers’ compensation.
- The workers’ compensation system is a no-fault system. Even if you were partly responsible for causing the accident at work, you are still entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. In some cases, injured workers may also have a third-party injury claim. For instance, if you were driving your employer’s vehicle and were hit by another car, you could have an injury claim against the driver at fault.
- You have a deadline. If you want to file a workers’ compensation claim, you must do so within two years from the date of the accident. In case the insurance company has denied your claim, you have the right to appeal. If you had been to the hearing and are not happy with the outcome, you have 30 days to file an appeal before the full Workers Compensation Commission.
- Be ready for the hearing. If your workers’ compensation claim requires a hearing, you would have to appear before the Virginia Workers Compensation Commission. For the hearing, you are required to give your testimony in person. If you intend to present witnesses to support your claim, they should be there in person.
Now that you know the basics, get an attorney to know how you can get the best possible settlement for your losses. Most law firms have a free consultation option, which is handy.