How to Apply for Virginia Workers’ Compensation Benefits

Virginia workers' compensation benefits

All Virginia workers’ compensation claims get processed at the state level for non-federal employees. If you get ill or hurt on the job, follow the steps listed below to file your Virginia workers’ compensation claim. We’ll also explore how the Virginia workers’ compensation program changed from 2012 to 2016.

Does My Employer Have Virginia Workers’ Compensation Coverage?

Any business with at least two employees must carry Virginia workers’ compensation insurance. The Virginia Workers’ Compensation Act defines “employees” as:

  • Part-time workers
  • Seasonal workers
  • Temporary workers
  • Minors
  • Trainees
  • Immigrants
  • Working family members

How to File Your Virginia Workers’ Compensation Claim

According to the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission, you must the steps below to file your claim:

  1. State law requires you to report your workplace illness or injury to your employer in writing within 30 days. If you don’t report it within two years, you may forfeit your right to claim any Virginia workers’ compensation benefits.
  2. Select a doctor to treat you from the panel of three provided by your employer or their insurance provider. If you sought emergency medical care when the incident occurred, complete Form 5, Claim for Benefits Form.
  3. To get your claim started, you must file your completed Form 5 directly with the VWC. Once the VWC receives that form, they’ll assign a Jurisdiction Claim Number (JCN) and PIN for WebFile. You can use these numbers to check your Virginia workers’ compensation claim status online anytime.
  4. Your employer’s insurer must promptly decide whether to approve or deny your workers’ comp claim. In most cases, you’ll learn whether your claim’s approved or denied within 10 days.
  5. If your claim’s denied, you can appeal by requesting an evidentiary (or “on-the-record”) hearing with the VWC in writing. The VWC will schedule your hearing and notify you to appear at a designated location, time and date. If you’d like to speak with the VWC directly about appealing your denial, call 1-877-664-2566.
  6. You have 20 days to appeal a second time if you disagree with the written hearing opinion. There are four total appeal levels for resolving disputed Virginia workers’ compensation claims. Learn more in the VWC’s Injured Worker FAQs here.

Every workers’ comp claim is unique, and your personal experience may vary from what we’ve described above. To learn more about the Virginia workers’ compensation program, read the Injured Workers’ Guide.

Virginia Workers’ Compensation Statistics

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) issues an annual workers’ compensation statistical report covering most U.S. states and territories. You’ll see total claims filed and for each job sector, along with how many people missed work or changed jobs. Our chart below tracks how the Virginia workers’ compensation program changed from 2012 to 2016.

The Virginia workers’ compensation program fluctuates quite a bit every year, but the ratios are fairly stable. Every year in the chart above, service-industry claims make up about 61% of the total filed — except for 2015. That year, injured workers filed 8,100 fewer claims than they did in 2014, and just 58% were service-industry employees. Employees who missed work, changed jobs or received restrictions typically make up 54-55% of total claims filed. That percentage was lowest in 2012, when they made up just 51% instead. That means just over half the employees filing claims each year need more than a week off work to recover.

You May Qualify for Virginia Workers’ Compensation Claim Assistance

Preexisting or chronic health conditions can make getting your Virginia workers’ compensation claim approved much harder. If you think your employer’s insurance company owes you more benefits than they’re willing to pay, talk to a lawyer. Whether you want confidential answers to your questions without going through HR or need to appeal, a workers’ comp attorney can help you.

Ready to see if you may qualify? Click the button below to start your free benefits evaluation now!

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