When may I be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits?

If you are injured on the job, or sustain an occupational disease as a result of your employment, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.  Workers compensation claims can also include conditions caused by exposure to hazardous substances. A typical example of an occupational disease is carpal tunnel syndrome.  In order for an individual to be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits, they must sustain an injury by accident, arising out of, and in the course of their employment.

When should I file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits?

Whenever you are injured while at work, you should file a workers’ compensation claim.  Employees who suffer on-the-job injuries and diseases may be eligible for benefits under the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Act.  If injured at work, you should immediately report the injury to your employer, and file a claim with the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission.  If you are diagnosed with a work-related disease, you should take the same immediate action in order to protect your rights to workers’ compensation benefits.

What do workers’ compensation benefits typically include?

Under the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Act, an injured worker is entitled to the following benefits:

  1. Wage loss benefits, if an employee is unable to work because of an injury sustained in the course and scope of his or her employment.
  2. Lifetime medical treatment for injuries incurred as a result of the work accident.
  3. Vocational rehabilitation, in the event an injured worker is unable to return to his pre-injury occupation due to his work place injury.
  4. Benefits for dependents, such as a spouse or minor children of a worker killed on the job.

Can I sue my employer for my work place injury?

The Virginia Workers’ Compensation Act is designed to provide injured workers monetary benefits and medical treatment for job-related injuries, in lieu of the injured worker filing a “traditional” lawsuit against the employer.  This benefits the employee because the workers’ compensation process tends to be quicker than litigation in the court system.  Additionally, an injured worker does not have to prove that anyone was at fault for his or her injury in order to recover workers’ compensation benefits.  In order to receive workers’ compensation benefits, an injured worker must only prove that he or she sustained an injury by accident arising out of and in the course and scope of his employment.

Are there any disadvantages to workers’ compensation?

An injured worker cannot receive monetary damages for “pain and suffering,” nor can punitive damages be recovered in a workers’ compensation case as a result of an on-the-job injury.

Can I ever sue someone for my work-related injury?

Workers’ compensation is the exclusive remedy for an injured employee who has sustained on-the-job injuries, or an occupational disease.  However, in the event that an injured worker’s injuries were caused by the negligence of a third party (not the employer), the injured worker can sue the non-employer (third party) for damages.  A common example is a worker who is driving a vehicle in the course and scope of his employment, and is involved in a motor vehicle accident when they are struck by a negligent driver.  In such a scenario, the injured worker may have a workers’ compensation claim, as well as a third party negligence lawsuit against the driver who struck their vehicle.

The attorneys at The Reed Law Firm are experienced personal injury and workers’ compensation attorneys.  We can represent you in your third party personal injury case, as well as assist you in filing a claim with the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission, in order to recover workers’ compensation benefits.