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Virginia Workers' Compensation Laws

Virginia, often called the Old Dominion, is known as the birthplace of a nation. The population has grown, especially in NoVa, due to tremendous job opportunities and the peaceful environment. Whether you work in the suburbs or near the Washington metropolitan area, accidents are bound to happen. It is certainly devastating to get injured on the job and face sudden, unexpected loss of income. To protect injured workers, every state has laws requiring many employers to provide workers' compensation insurance to their employees. If you were injured on the job, you're likely eligible to collect workers' compensation benefits. Read on to learn about Virginia workers' compensation laws.

What Is Workers' Compensation?

"Workers' compensation" refers to a form of employer insurance that is meant to provide injured employees with compensation for work-related injuries. Every state has its own workers' compensation laws. Virginia has the Virginia Workers' Compensation Act that requires most employers to carry workers' compensation insurance. There is a trade-off for both employers and employees: it protects employers from getting sued by its employees and provides prompt payments for injured worker.

Virginia employers are required to have coverage if they regularly employ more than two part-time or full-time employees, including subcontractors. There are no exceptions or waivers to this requirement. Even if your employer does not have insurance, you may be eligible to receive workers' compensation if your employer was required by law to have insurance.

Types of Injuries Covered under the Act

To receive workers' compensation, the accident must have happened while you were in the course of employment or doing something on behalf of your employer. Under the Virginia Workers' Compensation Act, the injury must: (1) have occurred at work or during work-related function, (2) be caused by a specific work activity, or (3) have happened suddenly at a specific time. Injuries caused by employee's misconduct or outside of the scope of work are not covered, as well as injuries that incurred gradually or from repetitive trauma.

Workers' Compensation in Virginia

The following table includes important parts of Virginia's workers' compensation laws, including key deadlines and types of benefits:

Important Deadlines
  • Must give written notice to employer no later than 30 days from the date of the accident occurs [Section 65.2-600]
  • Must file a claim within 2 years with Virginia Workers' Compensation Commission [Section 65.2-601]
Types of Benefits
  • Lifetime Medical Benefits: payment for expenses related to the injury or occupational disease (includes payment or reimbursement of out of pocket medical, prescription and transportation expenses)
  • Wage Loss Replacement (Temporary Total/Temporary Partial Disability): full or partial wage loss replacement for medically authorized disability from work
  • Permanent Partial Disability: compensation for loss of use of a body part, loss of hearing/vision, amputation, lung disease or bodily disfigurement or scarring
  • Permanent Total Disability: lifetime wage replacement for loss of 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: in cases where injury results in death, surviving spouse, children, or certain other dependents may be entitled to wage loss replacement benefits and payment of funeral/transportation expenses
  • Other: mileage reimbursement, if eligible (including total wage loss and fatal benefits)
Employer Obligations
  • Employers are required to file a "First Report of Injury" (FROI) of the accident or injury with Virginia Workers' Compensation Commission within 10 days of having knowledge of the accident or injury

Virginia Workers' Compensation Claim Process

If you got injured from work-related activities, you should: (1) report your injury to your employer immediately and (2) file a claim with the Virginia Workers' Compensation Commission ("the Commission") no later than two years after the accident. If you don't report your injury within the timeframe, you may lose your right to get compensation.

Once you notify your employer of the injury, your employer is required to file a First Report of Injury. After that, the Commission will send you information of your rights and responsibilities. If your claim is accepted, you will receive an Award Agreement.

To file a claim, complete a Claim for Benefit Form and submit it in person, or by mail, fax, or Webfile. For specific instructions, visit Virginia Workers' Compensation Commission Injured Workers page.

Limitations on Workers' Compensation in Virginia

Compensation
  • Employer shall pay a weekly compensation equal to 66.67 percent of the worker's average weekly wages [Section 65.2-500]
Total compensation
  • Compensation cannot exceed 500 weeks, except in permanent and total incapacity, permanent disability, and death from coal worker's pneumoconiosis [Section 62.2-518]

Get a Free Claim Evaluation from a Virginia Attorney

You may lose your right to some or all of your benefits if you don't properly file a claim for workers' compensation. Although workers' compensation laws are designed to be straightforward, there are specific requirements and limitations depending on your situation in Virginia. To protect your rights, contact an experienced attorney in your area for a free claim evaluation.

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