Myths about workers’ compensation may prevent people from making claims or getting the benefits that they really need. For example, some people wrongly assume that workers’ compensation is only available to those hurt in a major accident.
If someone does get hurt in a machinery malfunction or similar incident at work, the Virginia workers’ compensation program does require that they report that issue to their employer. However, you don’t have to know exactly when you got hurt to qualify for benefits.
You only need proof that your medical issue is a direct result of your job responsibilities.
How do you have a medical issue if you don’t know when you got hurt?
Some people may think it is strange that a worker could suffer a serious injury and not know as soon as it happens. However, many work-related medical issues develop over time due to repetitive stress on the body.
For example, carpal tunnel syndrome doesn’t suddenly develop because someone stayed at work too long one day. They have done damage to their hands, wrists and forearms a little bit every day that they worked for many years. The cumulative trauma that results can still qualify someone for workers’ compensation benefits.
The doctor who diagnoses you will need to affirm that your condition directly results from your employment. You will also need to notify your employer of your recent diagnosis in a timely manner. You could potentially receive full medical coverage for your care. You could also receive disability benefits if you need time off of your job to recover.
Understanding the rules that guide workers’ compensation claims can help you get treatment instead of ignoring a serious medical condition.