Federal laws state that employers must maintain a safe working environment, but not everyone abides by these rules. Shoddy scaffolding, weak ladders, and chemical spills all contribute to dangerous on-the-job accidents, especially in risky professions such as construction and farming.
What compensation is available to you if you’ve been hurt at work? Here are the primary remedies you have for work-related accidents in Virginia.
Remedies for Work-Related Accidents in Virginia
If you’re hurt on the job in Virginia, you can seek compensation through one of two channels: workers’ compensation or a personal injury claim.
Workers’ compensation is the predominant remedy for most people hurt on the job. If your employer offers you these benefits, you cannot sue them (with a few exceptions).
Workers’ compensation is not generous. It pays for all medical-related services, including doctor’s visits, hospital stays, surgery, prescription drugs, and physical therapy. It reimburses you for mileage driven to medical appointments. However, it does not pay for pain and suffering the same way a personal injury claim would.
Benefits also cover lost wages until you’ve recovered enough to return to work. Exactly how much workers’ comp pays, and for how long, depends on the severity of your injuries. For instance, if you’re temporarily disabled, workers’ comp may pay compensation equaling 66 2/3% of your wages based on your earnings for the 52 weeks prior to your accident.
Workers’ comp is a no-fault insurance program. This means you don’t need to prove negligence to take advantage of its benefits.
A Personal Injury Lawsuit
As mentioned above, you usually can’t sue your employer if they offer workers’ comp. One exception to this is if they purposely injured you, either physically or mentally. Examples include assault and battery, defamation, and fraud.
You may also sue your employer if the law requires them to have workers’ compensation insurance but they failed to purchase it.
If a third party had some responsibility for your accident, it’s possible to file a claim against them with the help of a Virginia workplace lawyer. For example, if you work in construction, you could sue a subcontractor for providing poorly maintained tools.
Damages you can seek in a personal injury suit include:
- Lost wages
- Medical expenses
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of companionship
What to Do Following an Accident on the Job
Here’s what to do after an accident at your workplace:
- See a doctor, even if your injuries don’t seem severe.
- Report the accident to your employer (you have 30 days to do so in Virginia, and if you miss the deadline, you may be unable to claim workers’ comp benefits).
- Gather evidence from the accident scene.
- Keep any correspondence between you and your employer.
- Hire an attorney if you’d like to sue your employer or a negligent third party.
Contact Workers’ Compensation Attorneys in Virginia Today
If you’ve been hurt at work and wish to file a lawsuit or claim workers’ comp benefits, give our Workers’ Compensation lawyers a call. We can handle workers’ comp denials, negotiate with insurance companies, and represent you if your case goes to court.
To speak with a Virginia workplace lawyer from Geoff McDonald & Associates, P.C., call (804) 888-8888.