Worker’s Compensation: More FAQs
In our blog post from August 4, we answered some commonly asked questions about workers’ compensation. To help you further understand workers’ compensation and how it may help you, we have identified answered five more commonly asked questions to give you a better idea of what you may be able to expect from your employer in the event of an accident at work.
Who pays workers’ compensation benefits?
Many people assume that the state pays for benefits, but worker’s compensation benefits are actually paid by private insurance companies that work with your employer. In most states, employers are required by law to carry workers’ compensation insurance in case one of their employees is hurt on the job. Failure to carry insurance can result in fines, prosecution, and the employer’s personal liability for an accident.
Do I have to see the company doctor if I am injured, or can I choose my own?
This varies by state. In Virginia, you will be required to visit a doctor assigned by the insurance company, unless your employer agrees to let you see someone else. Some jobs allow you to designate a doctor in advance in case you ever need medical treatment. If you have any objections to an assigned doctor after your initial visit, you may be able to request to see another doctor for a second opinion by filing a claim through the insurance adjuster.
Can I lose my job if I’m receiving worker’s compensation benefits?
Employers are prohibited from discriminating against you while you are receiving workers’ compensation benefits, which means that you cannot be laid off or terminated, barring two exceptions. Your employer can terminate you if medical evidence makes it clear that you will not be able to return to your usual duties. You can also be terminated due to business necessity, but since this may place a high burden on your employer, they may instead opt to hire a temporary worker in your place until you recover.
What happens if my injury prevents me from returning to work?
Your employer can offer you a position with modified job duties at a slightly reduced rate of pay. If there is no alternate employment available, they may have to provide you with vocational rehabilitation services, which can get you the training, education, and other resources needed for you to find another occupation.
What if I never realized my injuries? Can I still get compensation?
There are a number of injuries that happen gradually and which are often overlooked by employees. These include hand and wrist injuries, hearing loss, heart and lung problems, back pain and hernias, and eye injuries. These injuries are typically caused by repeated strain or exposure to airborne chemicals and other irritants. Depending on your injury, workers’ compensation may or may not provide benefits. Consult with a lawyer from Agnew & Rosenberger, PLLC to see if your injury makes you eligible for workers’ compensation.
We hope that these answers have helped you reach a better understanding of the workers’ compensation system. For further information, or to see if you have a case, please contact a Virginia workers’ compensation attorney from Agnew & Rosenberger, PLLC at (434) 322-4286. You can also fill out an online form to receive a free consultation.