Temporary and Permanent Disability Benefits in Virginia
Understanding the intricacies of disability benefits in Virginia is crucial for individuals who have suffered a work-related injury or illness and seek proper compensation. Virginia law provides for both temporary and permanent disability benefits to assist workers during their recovery process. In this article, we will delve into the details of these benefits, their eligibility criteria, and the relevant Virginia laws governing them.
Temporary Disability Benefits
Temporary disability benefits are intended to provide financial assistance to employees who are unable to work due to an injury or illness that is expected to improve over time. In Virginia, temporary disability benefits are calculated as two-thirds of the average weekly wage of the injured worker, up to a certain maximum limit.
Temporary total disability benefits are available to individuals who are completely unable to work as a result of their injury or illness. These benefits are payable for the entire period of disability, until the worker has reached maximum medical improvement (MMI) or returns to work.
On the other hand, temporary partial disability benefits are available to those who are still able to work but at a reduced capacity or earning capacity due to their injury or illness. These benefits are calculated based on the difference between the pre-injury average weekly wage and the post-injury earning capacity.
It is important to note that temporary disability benefits are subject to certain waiting periods. Generally, the employee must be unable to work for at least seven days before temporary disability benefits become payable. If the disability continues for more than 21 days, the employee may be entitled to receive benefits for the initial seven-day waiting period as well.
Relevant Virginia Laws:
- Code of Virginia § 65.2-500 (Temporary total disability benefits)
- Code of Virginia § 65.2-507 (Temporary partial disability benefits)
Permanent Disability Benefits
Permanent disability benefits are designed to provide compensation to workers who have sustained permanent impairments or injuries that significantly impact their ability to earn a living. These benefits aim to address the long-term financial impact of the disability and any resulting limitations.
Virginia law recognizes two types of permanent disability benefits: permanent partial disability (PPD) benefits and permanent total disability (PTD) benefits.
Permanent partial disability benefits are awarded based on the percentage of impairment assigned by medical professionals according to the American Medical Association’s (AMA) Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment. The compensation is calculated by multiplying the impairment rating by a predetermined rate and the number of weeks specified for the affected body part or condition.
On the other hand, permanent total disability benefits are provided to individuals who are unable to engage in any gainful employment due to their work-related disability. These benefits are payable for the duration of the disability, subject to certain limitations and conditions.
Relevant Virginia Laws:
- Code of Virginia § 65.2-503 (Permanent partial disability benefits)
- Code of Virginia § 65.2-503.1 (Permanent total disability benefits)
Filing a Claim and Seeking Legal Assistance
When pursuing disability benefits in Virginia, it is essential to follow proper procedures and meet specific deadlines. It is typically required to report the injury or illness to the employer within 30 days and file a Claim for Benefits with the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission within two years of the accident or diagnosis.
Given the complexity of the workers’ compensation system and the potential challenges that may arise, seeking legal advice from an experienced workers’ compensation attorney is highly recommended. A skilled attorney can guide individuals through the entire claims process, ensure all necessary paperwork is filed correctly and in a timely manner, and advocate for their rights to receive the disability benefits they deserve.
At our law firm, we are well-versed in Virginia workers’ compensation laws and diligently assist clients in navigating the complexities of disability benefit claims. Our team of dedicated attorneys is committed to helping injured workers obtain the compensation they need to secure their financial stability and move forward with their lives.
For a confidential consultation regarding your disability benefits or any other workers’ compensation matter, please reach out to us today. Our experienced legal professionals are here to provide you with the guidance and support you need during this challenging time.