The main offices for the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission are located at 333 E. Franklin Street, Richmond, VA, 23219. Claims can be filed and more information obtained at www.workcomp.virginia.gov Questions can be answered by the Commission at 1-877-664-2566. The Commission also maintains a network of six regional offices throughout the state; hearings may be held at these offices depending upon your geographical location. These offices are located in Bristol (425 Bristol St, Ste 200, Bristol, VA 24201); Fairfax (Prosperity Plaza, 3020 Hamaker Court, Ste 100, Fairfax, VA 22031); Harrisonburg (41 Court Square, Ste B, Harrisonburg, VA 22801); Manassas (Sudley Tower, 7900 Sudley Rd, Ste 500, Manassas, VA 20109); Roanoke (3800 Electric Rd, Ste 200, Roanoke, VA 24018); and Virginia Beach (281 Independence Blvd., Pembroke One, Ste 310, Virginia Beach, VA 23462). If you are interested in learning more about Virginia Workers’ Compensation, we invite you to contact us at 540-552-2052 to discuss your specific case, and the initial consultation is free.
With an established workers compensation case, and with your authorized treating physician continuing to say you are either totally or partially disabled from work as a result of your workers’ compensation injury, you can be paid up to 500 weeks of wage replacement benefits. Medical benefits related to your workers’ compensation injury are lifetime (if you don’t settle your claim). However, many injured workers are paid far less than 500 weeks of wage replacement benefits as their doctor clears them to return to full duty work (which will stop wage replacement benefits) or as other issues arise that result in the workers’ compensation carrier trying to stop wage replacement benefits. There is a way to get around the 500-week wage replacement limitation and have wage replacement benefits paid for a lifetime; this can be done if you are deemed to be totally and permanently disabled from your workers compensation injury. This is a high bar to reach, as you would need to have significant impairment from the workers compensation injury to either both legs, both arms, or severe brain damage. You may wish to speak with a Virginia workers’ compensation attorney to learn more. We invite you to contact us at 540-552-2052 to discuss your specific case, and the initial consultation is free.
There are often times when injured workers disagree with their treating physicians, or simply want another doctor’s opinion before having treatment that concerns them, such as surgery or invasive testing. So how do second opinions happen in workers’ compensation cases? The easiest way is for your treating physician to request the second opinion. If your doctor wants the second opinion, the carrier should authorize it. However, if you want the second opinion, the carrier doesn’t need to pay for it. Often this can be resolved if the carrier also thinks a second opinion is worthwhile. An example is when a treating physician has recommended surgery, but the injured worker isn’t sure that the type of surgery proposed, or even surgery at all, is the best treatment for them. The most difficult situation is when the injured worker wants the second opinion, and the carrier and treating doctor do not. The injured worker can always get a second opinion if he or she is ready to pay for it themselves. The second opinion can be used in litigation, but if the insurance carrier and the treating doctor don’t agree with the recommendations, there is a risk that the workers’ compensation carrier will never need to pay for the second opinion, or for any treatment that doctor does. There is also a chance that the second opinion won’t be favorable to you, and then can be used by the workers compensation carrier to say what treatment you can or can’t have. If you want a second opinion, we suggest speaking with your attorney first about how to best go about getting it.
If you are working under light duty work restrictions and your employer asks you to do something that would violate your restrictions, remind your employer of them. Make sure they have a copy of the restrictions. If they still insist, get human resources involved (or a union if there is one). If you get hurt again while working outside of your restrictions, the work comp carrier can argue that it is your fault, so be careful of this. Don’t leave work and make it clear that you are willing to work, but within your restrictions. Let your doctor and your work comp attorney know what is happening. If you need more help, contact us at 540-552-2052.
This is a common question from people who want to settle their workers’ compensation claim but would like to keep their lifetime casually related medical coverage in case they need care later. This is a valid concern, and your medical situation is a big factor in deciding whether or not to settle. In theory, it is possible to settle only the wage replacement benefits, with leaving the medical benefits open, and this does (rarely) occur. Unfortunately, in most cases, the insurance carrier will not settle a case with an agreement to keep medical benefits open. This is because part of the value to the insurance carrier in settling is to be able to completely close your case and not have any further monetary exposure after the settlement monies are paid. The value of the future medical benefits is considered within the settlement amount, and the timing of a settlement is important (if you are having surgery soon, holding off on settlement may make sense; if you are only occasionally treating settlement may be a good option). For more information or to discuss your particular case, please call The Moses Law Firm at 540-552-2052.