Ask Geoff: Do I Have a Workers’ Compensation Claim

Apr 29, 2017 | Workers' Compensation

Worker's compensation claim form

If you are injured at work, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. However, workers’ compensation is governed by state statutes and case law. Your situation must meet certain legal standards in order for you to be eligible to receive benefits. It can be difficult to understand all this legalese, so I’m going to talk you through the details in plain language.

In order to qualify for Workers’ Compensation benefits in Virginia, your injury must meet the conditions that have been defined by case law. For the purposes of Virginia Workers’ Compensation law, and “accidental injury” is defined as:

A sudden mechanical change which arises out of and in the course of employment.

This definition has three parts, and your injury must meet all three.

A Sudden Mechanical Change

A sudden mechanical change means that you feel a “snap, crackle, or pop.” In other words, your injury must happen all at once, and you must feel something like a sharp pain, a pop, or a crack. If your injury occurs in one single, identifiable incident, it probably fits this qualification.

This part of the definition is important, because it excludes repetitive or cumulative trauma injuries. Virginia is the only state that does not provide Workers’ Compensation benefit for repetitive stress injuries.

The most well-known repetitive or cumulative trauma injury is carpal tunnel syndrome. Carpal tunnel syndrome is a cumulative trauma injury of the wrist and hand that causes numbness, weakness, pain, and tingling due to pressure on the median nerve of the wrist. It is extremely common in people who do a lot of keyboard or computer work.

Repetitive strain injuries can happen in almost any part of the body that is under constant stress due to repeating the same activities over and over. These injuries usually involve the nerves and/or tendons.

These injuries are very common in a wide variety of occupations, and it is unfortunate that Virginia case law does not currently recognize them.

Arising Out of Employment

Arising out of means that your injury must be caused by a heightened risk of your employment. There has to be something about your job that causes it.

For example, if you are bending over to tie your shoe and hurt your back, your injury would not be covered under workers’ compensation. You could be tying your shoe anywhere. It is not directly related to your job. However, if you are picking up a 100-pound engine block and hurt your back, that would be covered. That activity is an added risk of your employment.

If you trip and fall down the stairs, that injury would not be covered. If, on the other hand, there is some defect or safety violation in the stairs, that would be covered. A fall like this would also be covered if you were carrying a work-related item.

Essentially, there must be something particular about your work that causes your injury for it to be covered under workers’ compensation.

In the Course of Employment

In the course of employment means you have to be at work when the injury happens. If you are driving to or from work and get into an accident, it would not be covered under workers’ compensation.

If you are injured driving a company vehicle to or from work, however, you would be eligible for workers’ compensation.

Your injury may or may not be covered if it occurs in the parking lot before or after work. This depends on the parking situation at your job.

If you are traveling out of town for your job, most types of injuries will be covered under workers’ compensation.

These are some basic guidelines to help you understand what types of injuries and situations may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. Ultimately, though, each injury is unique. And employers will try to find any loophole to get out of paying benefits. You need a good attorney on your side to get the benefits you deserve.

If you or a loved one has been injured at work, call a workers compensation lawyer in Richmond at (866) 369-9051 for a free consultation on your case.

Geoff McDonald and Associates: 804-888-8888.

FREE CONSULTATION

No Fees Unless We Win





    I Received Paperwork From Workers Comp, Should I Sign the Documents?

    When you get paperwork from the workers’ compensation insurance company, it’s time to talk to an attorney. It’s important to know exactly what you’re signing.  The paperwork might be something as simple as an agreed statement of fact where they list all the facts...

    What if I Was Injured on the Job by Defective Machinery?

    Any time you are injured by a defective product or workplace machinery, it’s a good idea to talk to an attorney. These cases have added layers of complexity and different parties could be involved based on the specific circumstances.  For example, if you were using a...

    What if My Car Accident Happened on the Job?

    Car accidents that happen while you’re working can involve more than one type of injury case. In these scenarios, you might have both a workers’ compensation claim to cover your wages because you were performing a work function at the time and a personal injury...

    What Should I Not Say to My Workers’ Compensation Adjuster?

    The best way to protect yourself from saying the wrong thing to a workers’ compensation adjuster is to speak to an attorney first. You have an obligation to report the accident to your employer within 30 days. The sooner you report the accident to your employer, the...

    Our Case Results

    $4,700,000
    Industrial Plant Accident

    Attorneys for the Plaintiff: Jeffrey A. Breit and Justin M. Sheldon Our client was killed in an industrial accident when an unauthorized worker was operating an overhead crane and pinned our client between…

    $1,750,000
    Rear-End Crash

    Our client suffered a traumatic brain injury, facial trauma, a dislocated hip and severe abdominal trauma when she was rear-ended at a traffic light by a tractor trailer. Suit was commenced shortly after…

    $1,250,000
    Assault of Log Truck Driver

    Attorneys for the Plaintiff: Geoffrey R. McDonald, Frank H. Hupfl, Justin M. Sheldon.
    Our client suffered a traumatic brain injury after being assaulted and knocked to the ground while fueling his logging…

    $860,000
    Drunk Driving Crash

    Our client suffered neck/head trauma and a broken wrist after his vehicle was struck by a drunk driver while he was stopped at a traffic light. Upon rejection of a settlement offer of $325,000, our litigation…

    $700,000
    Rear-End Collision

    Attorneys for the Plaintiff: Justin M. Sheldon and Geoff R. McDonald, Richmond
    GMA’s client was injured as a result of a rear-end collision in the greater Richmond area. The crash occurred a little after…

    Client Reviews

    Cheryl and Rich were wonderful and patient with me throughout the case. All of my questions were answered. They really helped me through this tough time and made sure to let me know what was going on. I really thank Geoff…

    Troy Saxby

    My experience with GMA staff was first rate. They always represented in a professional way and made sure I had everything as far as paperwork. Kara and Theo made sure to answer all my questions, was always available and so…

    Shirley Brown

    Geoff McDonald & Associates is the team that you want on the field if you’re in need of top notch legal defense! Mr. Taj Henley demonstrated true customer service skills and his expertise made me feel comfortable throughout the…

    Julian Reeves

    Geoff McDonald & Associates: Thank you Taj Henley for all of your hard work and dedication! Very expeditious in my case and I was very satisfied with my settlement. Will recommend to all my friends and family!

    Shareema Williams

    Geoff is number one in my book and I especially appreciate the support of Mr Henley

    Ebony Conwell

    I was so pleased with the knowledge and support from Mr. Taj Henley

    Kideem Frierson

    Thank you Geoff McDonald &Associates. A special thank you to Mr. Taj Henley

    Denise Conwell

    Mr. Taj Henley displays exceptional professionalism for Geoff McDonald & Associates, along with commendable communication skills and customer service. By his work ethic and commitment to the people he serves his value to any…

    Justin Fitzgerald