Virginia Worker’s Compensation- Fast Facts
Filing a Worker’s Compensation Claim in Virginia:

A workers’ compensation claim is filed by notifying your employer of your work-related injury. Report the injury you have sustained. The application for benefits is given to the employer.

If your employer declines to accept liability, you may call the Workers' Compensation Division (1-800-528-5166) and ask to speak to an Examiner.

You have the right to obtain the services of an attorney to handle the claim in the courts as provided by the law.

Virginia Worker’s Compensation Benefits:
Wage Replacement (Temporary total or partial)

While temporarily unable to perform any work, an employee is entitled to 2/3 of his or her gross average weekly wage up to a set maximum weekly limit. There must be seven (7) days of disability before benefits are payable. However, if disabled for more than three weeks, the employee receives payment for the first seven days. Benefits cannot exceed 500 weeks unless the person is totally and permanently disabled. If the injured employee cannot return to regular work and is given a light duty job at a lower wage, benefits are 2/3 of the difference between the pre-injury wage and the current pay up to the maximum weekly limit. Cost of living supplements are not paid on temporary partial benefits.

Lifetime Medical Benefits
Medical expenses for conditions caused by the accident or occupational disease are payable for as long as necessary, provided a claim was filed by the employee within the required time period.
The employee must select a doctor from a panel of three physicians provided by the employer/carrier. If a panel is not offered after notice of the accident, the employee may seek treatment from any physician. The treating physician may refer the employee to other doctors. Once treatment begins, the physician cannot be changed without approval of the employer/carrier or after a hearing by the Commission. The employee must cooperate with medical treatment or the weekly benefits may be suspended. Medical bills should be sent to the insurance carrier for payment.

Permanent Partial Impairment
Separate benefits are payable for the permanent loss of use of a body part such as an arm, leg, finger, or eye. Vision and hearing loss, as well as disfigurement may also be compensated. This does not include the back, neck or body as a whole. Benefits are for a specific number of weeks depending on the percentage of loss. The employee can receive these benefits while working if maximum medical improvement has been reached.

Permanent and Total Disability
Lifetime wage benefits may be payable if an individual loses both hands, arms, feet, legs, eyes, or any two in the same accident, or is paralyzed or disabled from a severe brain injury.

Death Benefits
A surviving spouse, children under 18, children under 23 enrolled full time in an accredited educational institution, parents in destitute circumstances or other qualifying dependents may be entitled to wage loss benefits. Death benefits include funeral expenses not to exceed $10,000 and transportation cost of $1,000.

Cost of Living Increase
A person receiving temporary total, permanent total or death benefits is entitled to cost of living increases effective October 1 of each year if the date of the accident is prior to July 1 of that year and if the combination of compensation and Social Security benefits are less than 80% of the pre-injury earnings. Cost of living increases must be specifically requested by the employee.

Vocational Rehabilitation
Employees who are released to light duty work must prove that they are actively looking for a light duty job, even if they expect to return to their regular job. You must accept all suitable positions offered, or risk suspension of benefits. Where appropriate, an employee may be entitled to retraining.

Choice of Physician: Employee selects initial physician from a list maintained by the employer. The employer's list of physicians may also include chiropractors for treatment of employee's injuries.

Attorney Fees Permitted: Individual case basis

Virginia Worker’s Compensation Waiting Period:
The waiting period for compensation benefits after injury is 7 days.

Compensation is retroactive if disability continues for more than 3 weeks from the date of injury.

Virginia Worker’s Compensation Contact Information:
Virginia R. Diamond, Chairman
Workers’ Compensation Commission
1000 DMV Drive
Richmond, VA 23220
 (804) 367-8657  (804) 367-8657 or  1-877-664-2566  1-877-664-2566
(Contact: Sam Lupica)

NOTICE: These questions and answers concern Virginia law only, and should not be construed nor relied upon as reflecting the law in other States, nor as giving legal advice. You are warned that circumstances often vary greatly and that, due to changing decisions and law, the answers to these questions may change over time and not be current, and you should consult an attorney in any specific case, and NOT rely on these questions and answers as giving anything other than general information.

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