Five Steps to Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim
If you’ve been hurt on the job, there are a few steps you need to take in order to ensure your ability to receive the proper benefits.
- Give notice to your employer that you were hurt on the job. Make sure to document to whom you gave notice and when notice was given. Job injuries should be reported within 30 days of the occurrence or your ability to receive workers’ compensation benefits could be barred.
- Seek proper medical attention.
- Once your employer has notice of your work accident, you must be offered a panel of physicians within a reasonable period of time after your injury. That panel should consist of three different doctors from which you select your treating doctor. If no valid panel is offered, you are free to select a physician of your own choice for treatment.
- Follow the advice of your treating doctor, including all treatment recommendations. Your goal is to get better and return to the workforce, if possible. If your doctor indicates that you are totally disabled from work, request a disability slip documenting your work status, and provide any such disability slips to your employer.
- If you are released to light-duty work and your employer offers you light duty work within your restrictions, you must accept the light-duty work, or your refusal may bar your entitlement to additional benefits. If your employer cannot accommodate your restrictions, you should begin looking for alternative work within your restrictions and document all your efforts.
- After your work accident, you will most likely be contacted by your employer’s workers’ compensation insurer. Normally, the insurer will ask you to give a recorded statement regarding the occurrence of your work accident. You are under no obligation to give such a statement, no matter what the insurer may tell you to the contrary.
- File a claim for benefits with the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission. Failure to file a claim within two years of the date of your accident may forever bar your claim. This claim form can be completed online at www.vwc.state.va.us.
- Finally, consult an experienced attorney who can help you protect your rights to workers’ compensation benefits. Navigating the workers’ compensation system can be confusing and overwhelming. An experienced attorney can help you with the process. Remember the insurance company does not work for you and will not protect your rights.