There are time limits that affect how long you have to file a claim with the Workers’ Compensation Commission in Virginia. Failure to abide by these limits could cause your claim to be denied.
In this article, we’ll discuss this time limit, known as the statute of limitations, and shed some light on what you can do if you happen to miss it.
The Difference Between Giving Notice and the Statute of Limitations
You need to know about two deadlines when it comes to workers’ compensation claims in Virginia. The first is the deadline to give notice to your employer. This deadline is relatively short, and it’s designed to give your employer time to investigate the circumstances surrounding the accident.
For example, was a machine malfunctioning? Is there testimony that corroborates or contradicts your story?
It’s important that you give your supervisor a written account of what happened. Failure to comply with this deadline could cause your claim to be denied by the Workers’ Compensation Commission.
On a side note, make sure you keep a copy of your written notice. You may need to refer back to it, and you’ll want to ensure that your testimony remains consistent. If a case drags on for years, the insurance company’s attorneys could try to find contradictions in your testimony.
The second deadline is the one that determines how long you have to file for benefits with the Workers’ Compensation Commission. Here, the statute of limitations is two years, and it’s this deadline that we’re covering in this article.
Depending on the type of injury, the statute of limitations could be extended. For example, a partial disability claim has a three-year deadline. There is also no statute of limitations if your condition changes. The circumstances that apply here can get complicated, but it’s helpful to know that exceptions to the two-year rule exist.
What If I Notify My Employer?
Even if you follow all of the rules to the letter and give your employer a full written account of the accident within 30 days of it happening, this notification does not count toward filing for workers’ compensation benefits.
The same is true of an insurance company. The knowledge that the insurance company has regarding your injury is unrelated to the process of filing an official claim with Virginia state’s Workers’ Compensation Commission. Even if you’re getting medical care and the insurance company is footing the bill, you still have to officially file a claim.
It can be a common misconception that receiving insurance benefits is the same as receiving workers’ comp benefits, and this can sometimes be intentional on the part of the insurance company. It’s unfortunate, but they may try to influence you to avoid filing a claim, waiting for the statute of limitations to expire. At that point, they can stop paying, which can put you in a vulnerable position, especially if you were expecting lifetime benefits.
Contact a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer for Help
Navigating the landscape of workers’ compensation laws can be challenging, especially if you’re dealing with a painful injury and financial stress. An attorney can be a powerful advocate who ensures all of your documentation is filed correctly and on time.
If you need a workers’ compensation lawyer, Virginia-based Geoff McDonald and Associates is here to help. Over the past 20 years, we have recovered more than $400 million for our clients. We would be honored to put our experience to work for you. Contact us for a free consultation.