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What should I do if I’m injured at work and think I am entitled to workers’ compensation?

If you got injured while doing your job you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits, but you have several responsibilities before you can start receiving benefits. First, you must give notice to your employer as soon as possible that you are injured. Written notice is best. It’s also a good time to start a log of your communications with your employer.

Next, you must file a claim with the Workers’ Compensation Commission. You have two years to file a claim from the date of the accident or, in the case of an occupational disease, the date a doctor diagnosed you. Here is a link to the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Claim for Benefits:

https://www.workcomp.virginia.gov/vwc-portlet-cm-contentmanagement/content/d68a47b9-84a9-11df-915d-b9f4d8d8256b/form5_bene_claim_new.pdf.

If you have medical reports from the injury at the time you file the claim, you should submit copies of those reports with the claim. If you don’t have them when you file the claim, it’s crucial that you file them with the Commission as soon as you have them. The Commission will not completely process your claim until you file medical reports.

Your employer has the option of providing you with a panel of three doctors you must choose from for medical treatment. Sometimes employers don’t provide a panel. In this case, you can seek treatment from any doctor. In either case, your treating physician can refer you to other doctors as appropriate. To continue receiving benefits, you have to cooperate with your doctor’s treatment plan, and you cannot switch doctors without either your employer’s approval or a hearing by the Commission.

Finally, if you are well enough to perform light duty work and your employer allows it, you have the responsibility to seek out and accept light duty employment. This includes filling out job applications on a weekly basis and registering with the Virginia Employment Commission.

If you would like more information about what you should do if you’re injured on the job, contact our firm or visit the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission website: https://www.workcomp.virginia.gov/portal/vwc-website

Randy E. Appleton
Personal Injury & Wrongful Death Lawyer Serving Va Beach, Norfolk, Chesapeake & all of Virginia
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