Bristol, VA Workers’ Compensation Lawyer – Helping Injured Workers Get the Full Benefits to Which They are Entitled
Nearly any kind of injury suffered at work is compensable under the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Act. However, employers and their insurance companies have a vested interest in seeking to deny or minimize benefits, including the full medical treatment to which injured workers are entitled.
At The Law Offices of Mark T. Hurt, we believe that it is unconscionable for employers, insurance companies, and their doctors in engaging in unfair and wrongful tactics in order to deny just compensation and medical treatment. These tactics can include:
- Claiming that an injury did not occur at work,
- Minimizing the extent and rating of the injury in order to pay less compensation,
- Denying payment for treatment that is required by the law to help injured workers fully recover, and
- Clearing injured workers to return to their job before they are medically able to perform work requirements.
In situations such as these, hiring an experienced workers’ compensation attorney can help to increase the chances of securing full benefits and medical treatment, as employers are more reluctant to utilize unfair tactics when a seasoned attorney is involved in a claim.
At The Law Offices of Mark T. Hurt, firm founder Mark Hurt has represented countless injured victims and their families across Virginia over the course of 30 years of legal practice, and he has secured millions of dollars in compensation for clients. If you are suffering from a workplace injury and want to file a claim or need help in fighting a denial of benefits, call our offices to schedule a free consultation. Mark can evaluate your case, assist in preparing required paperwork, and (if necessary) zealously advocate on your behalf to get the full and fair compensation you deserve through administrative hearings and even trial.
How Much Do You Charge to Handle Workers’ Compensation Claims?
We represent injured workers on a contingency fee basis; thus we do not collect a fee unless we secure benefits for our workers’ compensation clients. By law, our fee is capped at a maximum of 20% of the compensation that is recovered for an injury (after costs are deducted). Regardless of whether the case settles or must be litigated through a trial, the fee will never exceed this threshold.
What Types of Injuries Are Covered by Worker’s Compensation?
Any injury or occupational disease that occurs during employment is covered under the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Act, regardless of who caused the accident. Covered injuries can include, but are not limited to:
- Broken Bones
- Back and Spinal Cord Injuries
- Neck Injuries
- Loss of strength
- Loss of Flexibility
- Muscular Strains
- Heart Conditions
- Aggravated Arthritis
- Ankle and Foot Injuries
- Burns, Scars, and Disfigurement
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS)
- Eye Injuries or Vision Loss
- Hearing Impairment or Loss
What Should I Do If I Am Injured on the Job?
If you’ve been injured at work, it is essential that you provide written notice to your employer as soon as possible, as the failure to report an injury within 30 days could result in a claim being denied, or the company contending that your injury did not occur at work. If you work for a subcontractor, the notice should be given to both your subcontractor employer and to the general contractor.
After giving this notification, you should also file a Claim for Benefits Form with the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission. Claim forms can be obtained and submitted online at the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission’s website.
Can I Go to Any Doctor that I Want?
Once all parties have been timely notified of an injury, an employer is required to provide a list of physicians by whom the injured worker can be treated. The employee must select one of the referenced medical providers; however, if a company neglects to provide the physician list or the individual believes that improper treatment is being rendered, it may be possible to consult with an independent doctor. Additionally, an injured employee may also go to any doctor to seek treatment, although the employee will likely be required to pay all costs associated with such visits and medical treatment.
It’s important to recognize that the doctors on a company’s physician list may have an incentive to minimize the extent of the injury, or to otherwise find that an injured employee is able to return to work before they are actually able to do so, in order to stay on the company’s list of approved doctors (and be able to get further work from the company). For this reason, it is often important to get an independent medical examination (IME) from a physician who may not have this bias.
At The Law Offices of Mark T. Hurt, we represent injured victims in seeing that they receive the fair treatment, full compensation, and complete medical benefits that are required under Tennessee law. The workers’ compensation system can be challenging, but we help ease the process by providing pragmatic guidance and assisting in selecting the appropriate medical providers.
How Long Can I Receive Virginia Worker’s Compensation Benefits?
Every workers’ compensation case is different, and there are many variables that will determine how long an individual will be eligible for benefits. The exact amount of time that an employee will receive benefits will depend on the severity of an injury, how long it takes to recover, if full recovery is achieved, and if the individual can return to work. For most cases, compensation may be awarded for up to 500 weeks (so long as the injured employee is unable to return to work); however, there are some exceptions for severe injuries, such as spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, and amputations.
What Types of Workers’ Compensation Benefits Are There?
Workers’ compensation benefits vary based on the level of incapacity of an injured worker. The following are the different benefit levels:
- Full Incapacity. A worker is considered fully incapacitated if they cannot perform any work at all. In these cases, injured individuals should receive benefits for lost wages until released for full duty. In addition to lost wages, lifetime medical costs due to the injury – such as doctor visits, prescriptions, prostheses, durable medical equipment, physical therapy, and medical tests – will also be covered.
- Partial Incapacity. If an individual can still work, but their condition restricts their ability to earn the same amount as they had before the injury, benefits can be collected until a doctor releases the worker to full duty. Workers’ compensation benefits will be a portion of the difference between what the person is earning and previously earned before the injury. Like full incapacity, the worker may also be entitled to collect for lifetime medical expenses due to the injury.
- Permanent Loss. The Virginia Workers’ Compensation Act provides specific benefits for individuals suffering permanent loss of a body part in a workplace incident. For a complete loss of function or amputation, a worker will receive compensation for the following periods:
- First Finger 35 Weeks
- Second Finger 30 Weeks
- Third Finger 20 Weeks
- Fourth Finger 15 Weeks
- Thumb 60 Weeks
- Great Toe 30 Weeks
- Other Toes 10 Weeks
- Hand 150 Weeks
- Arm 200 Weeks
- Foot 125 Weeks
- Leg 175 Weeks
- Eye (Vision Loss) 100 Weeks
- Ear (Hearing Loss) 50 Weeks
- Severe Disfigurement Up to 60 Weeks
- Permanent and Total Incapacity. In severe accidents resulting in total incapacitation, lifetime compensation may be awarded. The following is a list of the circumstance under which a worker may be eligible for lifetime workers’ compensation:
- Loss of both arms, hands, feet, legs, eyes, or any combination of two in the same accident;
- Injury resulting in total paralysis; or
- Severe brain injury impairing the ability to work in any capacity.
It’s important to understand that the items noted above are a partial list of disabilities for which compensation is required. There are many other types of injuries, like debilitating back injuries, that may also result in permanent and total disability.
Call The Law Offices of Mark T. Hurt to Schedule a Free Case Evaluation with An Experienced Bristol Workers’ Compensation Lawyer!
Mark Hurt has over three decades of legal experience and in-depth knowledge of the Virginia workers’ compensation process. If you have suffered a traumatic workplace injury, we would like to help. Call our office to schedule a complimentary consultation.
Mark can discuss your case, explain your legal options, and tenaciously fight to get you the full benefits to which you are entitled.