When you receive an injury at work, it can bring a lot of added stress into your life. Whether you’re struggling to afford medical bills or dealing with ongoing pain, you might be wondering how long it will take to file a claim and how soon you can receive compensation. It’s normal to feel anxious or impatient for your benefits to roll in, especially when you have a family to support or are facing other financial strains.

Filing a claim

It’s best to report your injury right away so you can see results as soon as possible. In Virginia, you have 30 days to report your injury to your employer from the date the injury occurred. If it’s a work-related illness, you have 30 days to report from the time that your doctor tells you of your illness.

Your employer then has the obligation to file a First Report of Injury to the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission within 10 days of having knowledge of the accident. In addition to this, you should submit your own report to the Commission within two years of your injury.

While this may seem like plenty of time, fear of getting fired and uncertainty of what will happen often keep people from reporting their injuries.

After filing your claim, it may take the Commission anywhere from 10 days to a few weeks to assign a file number to your case.

Receiving your settlement

A general estimate of most workers’ compensation cases is four to eight weeks. Often, the time it takes for you to receive your benefits depends on the circumstances of your case. Some cases are denied and appealed, while other cases run into settlement disagreements with the employer’s insurance company.

Even when you and your employer’s insurance company agree on a settlement, a judge has to review the details of the settlement. They will approve it only if they determine the settlement to be in your best interests.

Don’t let the time it takes to receive compensation stop you from seeking it in the first place. A work-related injury can cause serious and even long-lasting damages. Filing a workers’ compensation claim as soon as possible allows you to avoid a delay — or even denial of — the benefits you need to recover.