You get hurt at work because of an accident or your doctor diagnoses you with a work-related medical condition. You know that you will need support because you need to take time off to recover or you require expensive medical care.
As an employee in Virginia, you have the protection of workers’ compensation insurance. Your employer should have a policy that protects you from both lost wages and medical bills. Different scenarios require different kinds of coverage.
Some claims get paid out as costs arise, while other workers can anticipate receiving a lump sum settlement. Especially if the insurance company offers you a one-time payment, you need to know exactly how much your claim is worth.
Estimating medical and income consequences
Early in your recovery, you likely won’t know how long recovery will take. Your doctor or physical therapist may have an idea, but everybody responds differently to treatments. You need to look not just at the best-case scenario but also at the average length of recovery and the worst-case outcome for your condition. Workers’ compensation should pay for all of the necessary treatment you require.
Unfortunately, workers’ compensation is not quite as generous when it comes to the wages you don’t earn. As long as you will miss multiple days of work, you could qualify for disability benefits. You need to consider how long you could potentially be off of work, whether your injury could have a long-term effect on your job skills and how likely it is to limit your future employment opportunities.
Generally, Virginia will pay up to two-thirds of your average weekly wage in disability benefits, although the maximum benefit available is $1,195 per week.
A first settlement offer is rarely the best offer possible
Those struggling to recover after a workplace injury often eagerly accept settlements, assuming that the amount offered is appropriate and fair. However, the settlement may be lower than what the workers would receive if they claimed ongoing benefits during their recovery and treatment.
Especially if you are the primary wage-earner for your family, being skeptical of a first offer will likely be in your best interest. The more you understand how workers’ compensation works in Virginia, the better equipped you will be able to handle making decisions about settlements and claims.