What Are Lifetime Medical Benefits in a Virginia Workers’ Compensation Claim?
Virginia Workers’ Compensation Claim Lawyer
When an individual is injured in a work-related accident or becomes ill due to employment-related causes, Virginia workers’ compensation law requires employers (or their insurance companies) to provide benefits.
Some of the benefits injured employees can receive include medical care, disability, wage replacement, compensation for ongoing care, and death benefits. Certain workers may also be entitled to lifetime medical benefits. This article explains what encompasses lifetime medical benefits and explain how compensation is awarded under Virginia law.
Generally, if an injured worker loses the ability to work entirely, he or she may be eligible for lifetime workers’ compensation medical benefits. If you or a loved one suffered an occupational injury or illness, we invite you to call The Law Offices of Mark T. Hurt to schedule a free consultation with an experienced Virginia workers’ compensation lawyer.
What Are Lifetime Medical Benefits?
Under Virginia workers’ compensation law, injured individuals may be awarded lifetime medical benefits when they suffer an injury on the job. These benefits cover all reasonable and necessary ongoing treatment for any injuries or illnesses related to a work injury.
Workers’ comp lifetime medical benefits cover expenses including (but not limited to):
- Fees for physician-authorized visits, exams, and referrals
- ER visits
- Injections and prescription medications
- Mental health and psychiatric care
- Specialized treatment
- Diagnostic testing
- Durable medical equipment (e.g., wheelchairs, breathing machines, etc.)
- Home nursing care
The Benefits of A Workers’ Comp Lifetime Medical Award
Although it may be possible to negotiate a lump-sum medical settlement, doing so involves surrendering a lifetime workers’ compensation medical award. As a result, it is prudent to carefully consider the advantages before accepting a buyout of your lifetime medical benefits.
The following are some of the advantages of retaining a Virginia workers’ compensation lifetime medical award:
- There is not any out-of-pocket expense for approved medical care and procedures;
- There is no need to worry about increases in healthcare costs over time, as the insurer must pay for any treatment related to an injury;
- Injured workers can be reimbursed for gas and transportation costs for commutes to and from medical visits;
- The claimant will never be responsible for covering deductibles or copays; and
- The insurance company will handle the claim, verify payments, and schedule visits, taking the burden off the injured worker.
What Is A Workers’ Compensation Lifetime Medical Buyout?
Insurance companies often offer to buy out claimants’ lifetime healthcare benefits, hoping to compensate injured workers less over time (compared to a lifetime medical award). If an injured worker accepts a settlement, they will be responsible for paying out-of-pocket for lifetime healthcare expenses.
Injured workers are not required to accept a lifetime medical settlement; however, a buyout could be beneficial under the following circumstances:
- The injured worker will not likely need additional treatment;
- An individual would like to obtain treatment through a physician of their choosing;
- The employee does not desire to wait for authorization and approval from insurers;
- The worker wants to avoid the stress of litigation; or
- The individual has private healthcare insurance.
The lifetime buyout may be tempting, as it potentially can involve a significant payment. However, before accepting a buyout, it is critical to carefully consider all future medical treatment, care, and related costs, as well as to take into account inflation. The cost of the care that may be needed today can easily double in 10-15 years, and can continue to increase thereafter. Additionally, the level of care that may be needed in the future as a person ages may also be higher than the level of care needed today.
As a result, the help of medical and financial experts may be needed in situations in which there is uncertainty not only about the future care and treatment that may be needed, but also the associated costs.
As an experienced Virginia workers’ compensation attorney, Mark Hurt can listen to the facts of your case, explain your rights, and provide guidance on whether it may be beneficial to accept a lifetime medical settlement.
Schedule A Free Consultation With An Experienced Lifetime Medical Benefits Attorney.
If you are involved in a Virginia workers’ compensation case and are unsure about whether lifetime medical benefits or a workers’ compensation settlement is in your best interests, we invite you to call our offices today to schedule a free consultation with experienced Virginia workers’ compensation lawyer Mark Hurt. Mark can listen to the facts of your case, explain your legal options, and zealously advocate for the maximum compensation and benefits to which you are rightfully entitled.