Workers’ Comp Lawyer in Alexandria, Virginia
If you’re suffering from injuries following an accident at the workplace, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation. The purpose of workers’ compensation law is to ensure hard-working employees don’t have to face the financial burden of unexpected medical expenses on their own. It provides financial assistance for hospital visits, treatment, prescriptions, and lost wages during the employee’s recovery period. But what happens when the employer makes it difficult for their employee to receive the compensation they’re entitled to?
An experienced workplace injury attorney can help you receive all of the compensation you’re entitled to. The workers’ compensation lawyers at Ashcraft & Gerel have years of experience serving hard-working employees in Alexandria, Virginia, and the surrounding area. They’ll use this knowledge to negotiate with your employer or their insurance company to ensure you receive the full compensation you deserve.
What is a workers compensation settlement?
Workers’ compensation is design to ensure that an employee does not have to foot the bill when they’re injured during their normal course of work. They can receive financial assistance for the cost of their recovery so they can get back on their feet and come back to work. Unfortunately, many employers and their insurance company try to tweak the system in their favor by only offering partial compensation or denying their employees’ claim completely.
If any of the following scenarios sound similar to your workplace injury case, you should have a legal representative at your side who can fight for your interests during your workers’ compensation settlement:
1) Your Workplace Injury Claim Has Been Denied
If you’ve been injured at work, but your workers’ compensation claim has been denied by your employer, there are options available to ensure you receive the financial assistance you deserve.
There are many reasons for why your workers’ compensation claim to be denied. Some employers will deny legitimate claims in the hopes that their employee will give up the fight for compensation, but there are non-malicious reasons why you may be denied, as well:
You didn’t report the injury in time
Each state has their own deadlines and requirements for reporting workplace injuries. In the state of Virginia, residents have 30 days from the date the accident occurs or from the date the doctor lets them know they’re suffering from a work-related injury or illness to report their injury to their employer. Your report should include as much information as possible, including your name, contact information, address, the circumstances surrounding the accident, and the full extent of your injuries. Failure to give your employer proper notice of your injury could result in you being found ineligible for disability benefits. Once you’ve given your employer notice, they then have 10 days to report the incident to the Workers’ Compensation Commision.
You didn’t file your claim in time
Reporting your injuries to your employer is not the same thing as filing a claim with the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commision. You’ll still need to file a claim directly with the commission with 2 years of the accident. This claim can be filed in person, by mail or fax, or via a web file account. For more information about your filing options or what information you should provide as part of your claim, reach out to a workers’ comp lawyer who is experienced in workplace injury law. They can help ensure all of the proper paperwork is filed within the state deadline.
Your employer disputes the circumstances surrounding your accident
One of the reasons why it’s important to document your accident as soon as possible is because your employer may not believe it happened while at the workplace. Even if your injury prevents you from completing your normal tasks at work, if your injuries were earned outside of the job or as a result of horseplay while on the job, then your employer may dispute your claim. This is another area of workers’ compensation law where the assistance of a work injury lawyer could greatly impact your case. An attorney will know what pitfalls to avoid when filing your claim and can help uncover evidence or witness statements to prove the truth in your report.
What should I do if my workers’ comp claim was denied?
Once your claim has been denied, the best thing you can do for your case is to hire an attorney as soon as possible. After you consult with your workers comp’ lawyer, they’ll have a clear understanding of what steps you should take to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve. This could include finding evidence that supports your claim that the injury occurred at work or documentation that you did file your claim within the appropriate timeframe.
Either way, it won’t be up to your employer to accept your claim once they have denied it. Your case will be appealed as part of a hearing before a Virginia state judge. During this time, your workers compensation attorney will present the court with any medical documents, statements or evidence that will bolster your claim and increase your chances of receiving full and fair compensation for your injuries.
2) Your Employer Retaliates Against You for Filing
Though it is illegal, there are some cases where employees have been let go shortly after filing for workers’ compensation benefits. Even if you still have your job, if you’re suddenly demoted or have reduced hours after a workplace injury, then an experienced Virginia workers’ compensation attorney may be able to help you receive the justice you deserve.
Many people avoid filing for workers’ compensation from fear that they may lose their jobs. You should know that if you suspect that your employer has let you go because you filed a claim, then you have a right to file a lawsuit for discrimination or retaliatory termination.
These types of cases can be very complex – especially if you are at “at will” employee. “At will” employment means that your employer is legally allowed to let you go for no reason at all. While no employer will out right say that they are terminating your employment as punishment for filing for workers’ comp, you can still gather evidence to support your lawsuit.
For example, if there are reports that show you’re an exemplary employee or emails between you and your employer where they indicate that you’ll soon get a raise in your future, these facts can be presented to the court to show that they had little reason for letting you go.
3) You Need Full Compensation for Your Medical Needs
Even if your employer does not deny your claim, it doesn’t mean their insurance company will agree to awarding you full compensation for all of your treatment. Workers’ compensation should cover the full extent of expenses required for your recovery, and a work injury lawyer can increase your chances of receiving full coverage for any of the following:
- Medication and Prescriptions
- Hospital Visits
- Surgery or Medical Procedures
- Nursing Services
- Loss Wages or Wage Reimbursement
- Medical Appliances (Crutches or Wheelchairs)
4) You Require Lifetime Compensation
If your injuries are so severe that you’ll need medical treatment for an extended period time, or for the rest of your life, you may be found eligible for lifetime workers’ compensation. This means that you will receive financial assistance in the form of a lump sum payment or weekly income from your employer. These types of situations can be complicated. Your employer’s insurance company may not agree that you should be awarded compensation permanently as this would be very expensive for them. But with a seasoned Virginia attorney with an experience in handling workers’ compensation settlements, you’ll have an advocate on your side who is able to fight for your permanent disability benefits.
What should I do to win my workers’ compensation settlement?
Hiring a workers’ comp lawyer with experience in personal and workplace injury law should be your first step toward filing your claim and winning your settlement. While you may have heard that you don’t need an attorney in order to file a claim, it’s always a good idea to have an advocate who will fight for you. Your employer’s insurance company have their best interests at heart. They’ll want to ensure you have a strong claim for full compensation, or else they may deny your claim or only offer partial compensation for your injuries.
The attorneys at Ashcraft & Gerel of Alexandria, VA have a full understanding of workers’ compensation law as well as a lengthy history of representing clients in a number of workplace injury cases. They can use this knowledge to ensure your employer’s insurance company doesn’t get away with paying you less than you’re due. In addition, if your claim is denied, you’ll have a legal representative readily on hand to let you know the next steps to take. This may include gathering evidence like photos, witness statements from your peers, or medical documents from your healthcare provider to prove the circumstances surrounding your accident and show the full cost of your resulting injuries.
What type of benefits could I receive for workers’ compensation?
When faced with unexpected medical bills, many families have to dig into their own personal savings in order to cover the cost. In addition, the lost wages from missing days at work can have a toll on their lifestyle and wellbeing. Winning your workplace injury settlement means you can now receive the care you need to recover from your injuries as soon as possible. Not only can you receive payment for your medical expenses, but you may also receive reimbursement for the time you’ve spent away from work during your hospital visits.
How much compensation you’ll receive depends on both the extent of your injuries and how long it takes you to recover. For more minor accidents, you may receive compensation for 2 weeks or less until you’ve completely recovered. These small accidents traditionally only include payment for your medical bills, treatment, and prescriptions. Since you’d only be missing work for a short period of time, it is unlikely that it would include wage reimbursement.
For more severe injuries, you may receive compensation for lost wages as well as full medical care until your doctor determines that you’ve reached the maximum level of medical improvement. Even if you’ve recovered partially, if your accident renders you unable to return to your normal course of work, there are still benefits you could receive to get you back in the work force.
One example of this would be if you’re a construction worker who suffered from a serious fall from a ladder on the job. You suffered from severe injuries to your back as a result, and you can no longer climb ladders or do the heavy lifting that is required as part of your job. As such, you may be entitled to compensation for any vocational training you need in order to learn a new job skill and find a new career path.
Our Alexandria Workers’ Compensation Attorneys Look Forward to Consulting with You
When you’ve been in an accident at work that leads to severe injuries, don’t delay in filing your claim. The state of Virginia only gives employees 30 days to report their incident to their employers and just 2 years to file an official claim with the Commission. Missing these deadlines could mean the difference between receiving the financial assistance you need to recover and shouldering that burden on your own.
A workers’ comp lawyer from Ashcraft & Gerel in Alexandria, VA can help ensure you file all of the proper paperwork on time and provide the right documentation to your employer and the Commission to increase your chances of a successful claim. Beyond the initial filings, if your workers’ compensation settlement takes a turn for the worst and is denied, then our attorneys will fight for you in court to ensure you receive full and fair compensation.