Getting injured at work is a major fear for many Virginia workers. A substantial amount of Americans live paycheck to paycheck, so the thought of losing income while healing from a work-related injury is frightening. While trying to juggle doctors? appointments, financial issues, and other obligations, it?s easy to lose track of the statute of limitations on workers? compensation. With the help of a workers? compensation attorney in Virginia, you can stay on top of deadlines and meet documentation requirements.
Two years is the time limit for a claim of the underlying original injury.
Filing a Claim With a Workers? Comp Attorney
The workers? compensation system, in theory, is straightforward and easy for workers to use. The system should allow workers to get partial wages and medical payments without being hassled by insurance companies and employers? representatives, but it often doesn?t work out like that. In real life, the workers? compensation system is often very difficult for employees. Insurance companies may require a prohibitive amount of paperwork from injured workers, investigate them for fraud even when there?s no reason to do so, or intentionally complicate the process to discourage employees from making claims.
Despite all of the obstacles an insurance company (they are the defendants in this case representing your employer) may try to utilize, there are protective mechanisms in place for your protection. You are not required to talk to the defendant. It is best to only communicate with your attorney. If you do not have an attorney, only communicate with the Workers? Commission in charge of processing the case. Make sure the Workers? Commission has paperwork documenting your injury.
It?s easy for insurance companies to use the statute of limitations on workers? compensation against the employees they are supposed to serve. Insurance companies may pay voluntarily for medical care, making injured workers think they do not need to file a formal claim. When the insurance company abruptly stops payments two years after the initial injury, it is too late for the employee to seek compensation. There is some good ways around this argument, but they may try to convince that you are stuck and try to have you settle for far less than you are entitled.
There are many ways your claim can be sabotaged, and you are the one who suffers when that happens. Contact Lugar Law PC to discuss your case and feel confident that you are doing everything possible to protect your income.
Time Limits for Each Type of Workers? Compensation Claim
Virginia law defines several types of claims and benefits in the workers? compensation system. For the vast majority of claims, your claim must be filed no later than two years after the initial injury. This is the case even if you are not immediately aware of the injury. Each type of claim has its own deadline:
- Accidental injury: If you suffer an accidental injury while working, you must notify your employer with 30 days of the incident. The official workers? compensation claim must be filed within two years of the accident. It is always best if you notify IN WRITING and save a copy for your file.
- Permanent total disability: Workers who suffer catastrophic injuries may be entitled to permanent and total disability benefits after they get 500 weeks of temporary disability payments. A claim has to be filed within three years of the most recent compensation payment. Compensation payment is payment for wage loss.
- Permanent partial disability: After a work injury leaves you with a permanent partial disability, you must file for permanent partial disability benefits within three years of your last official workers? compensation payment.
- Change in condition: Injuries can worsen or change in scope over time. When this happens after a work injury, you have to file within two years of your last compensation payment.
- Occupational disease: If you develop a disease due to your work environment, much depends on when you are diagnosed with the disease and when you find out that it is related to your work. Time limits range from two years to five years, depending on the disease you are diagnosed with. This is a complex area of workers? compensation law and it is important to discuss your case with an attorney.
- Death: If someone dies due to a work-related injury or disease, the family may be able to secure death benefits. To qualify, the employee must file a claim for the injury within two years and the employee dies within nine years of the diagnosis or injury. The family then has two years from the date of death to file for death benefits.
Are There Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations for Workplace Injury Claims
While the rules listed above seem fairly straightforward there are exceptions to every situation. Some clients ask us, ?Can you reopen a workers? compensation claim?? or ?How long is a workers? compensation claim good for?? The answer depends entirely on the specific details of your situation. Legislators realize that there are valid circumstances that may cause employees to file a claim outside the statute of limitations, so you may qualify for an exception. It is important to connect with a workers? compensation attorney to find out if any of the exceptions apply to you.
Don?t Lose Your Right to File a Workers? Compensation Claim!
From re-opening workers? compensation claims to ensuring that our clients don?t miss the statute of limitations on workers? compensation, we are completely dedicated to our clients? rights and the rights of Virginia workers. We know that you work hard for your income and we do not believe that a workplace injury should cause you and your family financial strife. Take the first step in your workers? compensation case now.