Injured workers and those who develop work-acquired illness can claim workers’ compensation benefits. The whole point of workers’ compensation is to protect workers from financial devastation due to their employment and the companies that employ them from liability.
In Virginia, those benefits include both medical coverage and disability benefits. Someone left unable to work could receive up to two-thirds of their average weekly wage until they recover and return to their job. They can also expect workers’ compensation insurance to cover all of their medical costs.
Workers’ compensation will fully cover medical expenses
Unlike treatments paid for by health insurance, treatments received through workers’ compensation won’t come with any patient responsibilities. You won’t have to pay a co-pay or co-insurance, nor will you need to meet a deductible before receiving benefits.
That generosity comes with certain limitations, such as the requirement to see a physician selected by your employer or their insurance company. What if you need a second opinion because you don’t agree with that doctor’s decision?
You have the right to seek a second opinion
Generally speaking, you need to comply with medical instructions during a workers’ compensation claim if you want to continue receiving benefits. However, you may disagree with how a doctor wants to treat your condition, or you may believe that they have reached the wrong conclusion.
You can request a second opinion, but you will likely need to pay for it out-of-pocket. Seeing your own doctor or a specialist can help you get the evidence you need to challenge the recommended medical treatment and potentially seek alternative therapy. However, to have your treatment covered, you will likely still need to go back to the doctor or practice chosen by your employer or the insurance company.
What if you need help proving the extent of your condition?
Workers who do not agree with a physician’s initial evaluation of their condition can request an exam. A proper medical evaluation could help you so how your injuries have affected your health or conclusively connect them to your line of work.
Navigating the workers’ compensation system in Virginia can be a challenge, especially if you don’t really understand your rights. Learning more about how workers’ compensation operates can help you get the benefits you need to fully recover from your condition and get back to work.