There are two (2) types of workers’ compensation claims in Virginia: (1) Accident injuries, which make up over 90% of the workers’ compensation claims; and (2) occupational disease claims, which are less than 10% of the workers’ compensation claims.
Accidental injuries are claims in which employees are injured by a specific event, on a specific date and time while performing work on behalf of the employer.
This is the most important part of your workers’ compensation claim. We understand you may be frantic after an accident, but you must be prepared to provide a truthful and accurate description of your accident. Collect your thoughts before reporting the accident. Focus on providing the who, what, where, why and how.
Who was present and are there any witnesses? If possible, get their full names. Also, make sure and report the accident to your immediate supervisor. If the immediate supervisor is not available, report it to your co-workers.
What work-related task were you doing when the accident occurred? For example, were you welding, moving freight, or driving?
Where did the accident occur? If your job has more than one location, provide the complete street address where the accident occurred.
Why the task was job-related?
How did the accident cause your injury? For example, when I was lifting the 50 lb. pipes, I felt a sharp pain in my back.
After making a report of the accident, go seek medical treatment the same day of the accident. The medical providers will take a history from you. Make sure the history tracks the same description you provided your employer. Inconsistencies in the story may be used by the employer to attack your credibility.
Tell the medical provider all the symptoms you are experiencing that you believe are related to the accident. Focus on providing an accurate and thorough assessment.
Occupational disease claims usually arise from exposure to workplace hazards like fumes, bacteria, virus; and not an ordinary disease to which others outside the work environment are usually exposed.
If you, however, believe you contracted a disease at work that is an ordinary disease of life to which the general public is exposed outside of the employment (think COVID-19), you may have to provide clear and convincing evidence, which is a higher burden of proof than is necessary to prove accidental injury claims that occupational disease did not result from causes outside the employment.
It is anticipated that COVID-19 claims will be filed as occupational disease claims. Simply put, COVID-19 claimants may have to provide clear and convincing evidence that the contracted the COVID-19 virus at work, and not at home, while shopping, at church, etc.
Then it is time to contact The Thomas Law Firm, PLLC so we can assist you with filing your claim and inform you of the benefits that you may be entitled to. These benefits include Temporary Total Disability Benefits, Temporary Partial Disability Benefits, Vocational Benefits, Loss of Use of a Body Part and Lifetime Medical Benefits.
Your employer is going to have a lawyer represent them, and so should you.
All workers’ compensation claims are unique to each individual claimant, so that we can learn more about your claim, your family member or friend’s claim, contact us for a free consultation.