If you want to obtain workers’ compensation benefits in Virginia, you must provide sufficient evidence. You must be an employee at a company subject to workers’ compensation laws. You must prove the accident is work-related. For monetary compensation, you must prove disability from work.

  1. Accident Report
    You should notify the employer of the accident and complete an accident report immediately. The accident report should include the employee’s name and employer’s name; accurate date, time, and location; how the accident happened; all injuries sustained; and any witnesses.

  2. Drug Test, Video Surveillance, and Witness Statements
    The employer might require you to take a drug test to see if there is alcohol or drugs in your system that contributed to the accident, are against company policy, and/or are illegal. There might be video surveillance of the accident or there might be people who witnessed the accident happen who are willing to testify at a hearing.

  3. Recorded Statement
    The employer’s workers’ compensation insurance adjuster will call you to take your recorded statement of the accident. Be careful because the adjuster is looking for reasons to deny your claim such as pre-existing condition, repetitive injury, not work-related, company policy violation, etc.

  4. Medical Records
    It is important to get authorized medical care immediately after a work injury. Ask your employer what providers are authorized for a work injury (ie. Patient First, Urgent Care, BetterMed, Occupational Health, Industrial Medicine, Employee Wellness, ER, etc.). You should tell the doctor it is a work injury, so the doctor relates the diagnosis to the work injury in the medical records, the doctor bills the workers’ compensation insurer, and the adjuster is more likely to accept the claim. It is important to get regular authorized medical care throughout your claim, get an updated work status note (completely out of work, light duty restrictions, or full duty) at every doctor visit, and to comply with appointments, treatment, and restrictions.

  5. Marketing
    If the doctor puts you on light duty and the employer cannot accommodate your restrictions, you must sufficiently market your residual work capacity until you get an Award Order for compensation of lost wages approved by the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission. Marketing means looking for other work within the doctor’s restrictions and keeping a job search log.

Navigating a Virginia workers’ compensation case can be tricky. Gerald Lutkenhaus has over 35 years of experience in this field. Contact him today.