Important: We updated this article in November 2022 to ensure the information below is both current and accurate. Unless you’re a federal employee, state law outlines who gets Virginia workers’ compensation benefits and how the process works. If you were injured or got sick on the job in the Commonwealth, you should focus on getting better, not stressing about the claims process.
We’ve gathered the information you need to get the benefits you deserve.
Qualifying for Virginia Workers’ Compensation
Commonwealth businesses with at least two employees must carry Virginia workers’ compensation insurance. State law defines “employees” as:
- Part-time workers
- Seasonal and temporary workers
- Working family members
- Members of the Virginia National Guard and Defense Force, and the United States Civil Defense Corps of the Commonwealth
Filing for Virginia Workers’ Compensation Benefits
Important: Seek treatment immediately if you require emergency or urgent care. Tell the doctor your injury or illness is work-related.
Every workers’ comp case is different, so your experience may vary. According to the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission, here’s how to file your claim:
- Report your workplace illness or injury to your employer in writing within 30 days. This is required by law. Caution: Missing this deadline could result in your claim being denied.
- Select a doctor from the list your employer or the insurance company provides.
- Complete Form 5, Claim for Benefits Form with the VWC. Caution: You must file a claim with the Commission within two years of the accident or illness.
- Get a Jurisdiction Claim Number and PIN from the VWC. Use these to check your claim status online at any time.
- Wait for a decision. Your employer’s insurer must promptly decide whether to approve or deny your claim. In most cases, the decision is made within 10 days.
- Appeal if your claim’s denied. Request an evidentiary (or “on-the-record”) hearing with the VWC in writing. If your first appeal is denied, you have 20 days to request another review.
Learn more about the Virginia workers’ compensation process at the VWC’s Injured Worker FAQs here.
Receiving Workers’ Comp Benefits
Injured workers may qualify for:
- Lifetime medical benefits pay for medical treatment and expenses now and in the future.
- Payment or reimbursement for medical bills and out-of-pocket expenses such as prescriptions and mileage, vocational rehab, and other costs.
These benefits must be authorized by a healthcare professional:
- Temporary total disability coverage replaces lost wages while completely out of work. Temporary partial disability benefits wages lost while partially out of work or on light duty.
- Permanent partial disability compensates for amputation, disfigurement/bodily scarring, lung disease, or loss of a body part, hearing, or vision.
Important: Survivors may be eligible for wage loss replacement and payment or reimbursement of funeral or transportation expenses.
Understanding Virginia Workers’ Comp Trends
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics issues an annual workers’ compensation report covering most U.S. states and territories. Here’s what the data show about the Old Dominion’s claims activity from 2016 to 2020.
Claims filed reached a high in 2018 and then declined dramatically in the last two years. The number of service industry claims followed a similar trend. The incidence of employees who missed work, transferred or received restrictions also dropped. Most of these changes are related to COVID-19.
Getting Legal Help With Your Claim
Working with an experienced workers’ comp lawyer can make the process both easier and faster. These attorneys also work on contingency. That means they don’t charge anything unless your claim is approved. If you do win, then you only pay a reasonable, one-time fee.
Ready to see if you may qualify? Then click the button below to start your free benefits evaluation now.
Margot Lester is the CEO of The Word Factory, a B2B & B2C content marketing agency that provides services for Fortune 100 brands, healthtech companies and SaaS developers. An award-winning business and brand journalist, she writes for daily and weekly newspapers and business journals, national magazines, in-flight publications and leading websites. Margot is also an in-demand writing coach and organizational communications trainer, helping individuals and teams write more effectively. Twitter/X: @word_factory LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/margotlester.