WORKERS' COMPENSATION FAQ
Is there a time limit for filing a workers’ compensation claim?
Yes. You must file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits within two years of the date of the accident or the date you are diagnosed with an occupational illness. Failure to file a claim within this statutory time limit may prevent you from receiving any benefits.
Do I qualify for benefits if I sustained a second injury while working for the same employer?
Yes. If you are receiving benefits for total loss or incapacity, you are still entitled to receive workers’ compensation benefits in Virginia. Payment for the first injury will be suspended during the time that you are receiving payment for the second injury. If you are receiving benefits for partial incapacity, however, you will not be able to recover additional benefits for a second injury.
Can my employer fire me for filing a workers’ compensation claim?
No. Your employer is prohibited from firing you because you filed a workers’ compensation claim or because you are serving as a witness at another employee’s workers’ compensation hearing. If you believe you were fired for either of these reasons, it is imperative that you consult with an experienced Richmond and Central Virginia workers’ compensation attorney immediately to protect your rights.
What do I need to do to prepare for my hearing before the deputy commissioners?
Your hearing before the deputy commissioners is an evidentiary hearing, which means that you must be prepared to present all the evidence you have, including witness testimony, medical reports, and other evidence of your injury. Prior to your hearing you should:
Accumulate all necessary documents and medical reports that will be presented as evidence at the hearing;
Have a written record of the exact dates you were unable to return to work as a result of your injury; and
Subpoena all witnesses testifying on your behalf by following procedures set forth by the Commission (note that fees for subpoenas are paid for by the person requesting the subpoena).
It is also important to arrive on time for your hearing.
Do I need to hire a lawyer?
No. You are not required to have a lawyer and may represent yourself throughout the claims process. You should know, however, that the employer (or insurance carrier) must be represented by a lawyer, which may place you at a disadvantage. Therefore, it may be wise to consult with an experienced Richmond and Central Virginia work injury attorney if any of the following situations arise during your claims process:
Your employer denies that your injury occurred while on the job
Your benefits are denied
You cannot obtain medical treatment
You have been promised benefits or care which you have not received
Your employer’s or insurance company’s attorney contacts you and wants you to give a deposition
You intend to sue a third-party who is also responsible for your injuries or illness
These are just some of the situations that can arise that may make you consider hiring a Richmond and Central Virginia workers’ compensation attorney. At Schilling & Esposito, we won’t charge you a fee upfront. Rather, our attorneys’ fees are paid as a percentage of any benefits you receive.
To learn more about how we can help you receive Virginia workers’ compensation benefits, contact Schilling & Esposito at (804) 261-1001 in Richmond or toll-free at 1-888-484-HURT to discuss your case with an experienced Richmond and Central Virginia work injury attorney or click here to fill out our free online case submission form.