Richmond Workers' Compensation Lawyer
Fighting to Help Injured Workers in Virginia
If you were hurt at work, on the job site, or while you were performing
duties for your employer, you may be eligible for various types of workers'
compensation benefits, and you may also have a claim for negligence. Do
you have to sue your employer to get your workers' compensation benefits?
What benefits are you entitled to? Who pays? Can you make a claim against
your employer for negligence? Who else might be responsible for your damages
and financial losses?
A seasoned Richmond workers' compensation attorney from our firm can
help you answer these and other legal questions and work for you to obtain
the benefits that you are entitled to!
Tell us about your accident in a
free case evaluation today.
Can You get Fired for Filing a Workers' Comp Claim?
This question is asked frequently. The answer is no, legally they cannot.
This sort of retaliation is prohibited by law. Your employer or boss is
not permitted to try to dissuade you from filing a claim if you are entitled
to workers' comp. If your employer does either of these things, you
should consult an attorney and make a report to the workers' compensation
commission. You should also be aware that filing a claim for workers'
comp benefits does not mean that you are suing your employer.
Was it a Workplace Injury?
One of the first issues that an attorney will examine in evaluating your
potential claims is whether or not your injury constitutes a workplace
injury under the law. You may or may not realize that most employers must
have workers' compensation insurance to pay for medical bills and
lost wages and assist with receiving any necessary accommodations at work.
Injuries could involve a fall from a roof or other structure while making
repairs, black lung from working in coal mines, carpal tunnel due to repetitive
motion and multiple hours at a computer, or a slipped disc while a nurse
is assisting in moving a patient. Only injuries that are related to a
requirement or condition of your employment, however, are considered eligible
for compensation under workers' comp.
How do You Know if Your Injury Is Considered Work-Related?
Work-related injuries are those that occur while you are engaged in some
activity on behalf of your employer or in some other way in the course
of your work. Most injuries that qualify will be those that happen in
the workplace, but work-related injuries also often occur on location
at a client's place of business, in a company vehicle, at a company-sponsored
The determining factor as to whether or not you are eligible for workers'
comp benefits is whether or not you were doing something that was
connected to your job at the time of your injury. Even an injury that occurs while you are at lunch could potentially be
covered by workers' comp insurance if you were having lunch with a client.
Still unclear on the details? Call (804) 220-0223 to speak directly to
one of our
Richmond personal injury lawyers!
Are You Covered by Your Employer's Workers' Compensation Insurance?
If the company you are working for has workers' compensation insurance
(and most are required to by state law), does it cover you? In order to
be eligible for workers' comp benefits, you must be considered and
properly listed by your employer as a true employee, rather than an independent
In addition, certain workers may or may not be covered by workers'
comp, such as:
- Seasonal workers
- Illegal immigrants
Claims for workers' compensation benefits in Virginia are handled exclusively
through the Virginia Workers' Compensation Commission. An experienced
workers' comp attorney will be able to assist you in determining if
you are eligible for benefits.
What Benefits are you Entitled to?
Generally, workers' comp insurance pays for the following:
- Your medical bills that are related to the workplace injury.
- A percentage of your lost income while you are unable to work.
- Expenses associated with training you for another job if you cannot return
to your former one.
- A lump sum payment for any of your injuries that are deemed to be permanent.
- Survivors' benefits to the families of workers who are killed in a
What if Someone Else Is Liable?
These questions may seem simple, but they involve complex answers and vary
by state. The easier question to answer is what happens if someone other
than your employer was negligent and it was their negligence that caused
your workplace injury?
In Virginia, you can make a civil claim against the responsible party to
recover for your pain and suffering. This could be another motorist who
caused an accident while you were driving a company truck, an independent
company who performed work at your place of employment and created a dangerous
condition, or even the manufacturer or equipment rental company.
That negligence claim would not be handled by the Workers' Compensation
Commission. It would be a matter that would be handled separately as a
tort claim in civil court.
If you are successful, you may receive a broad range of damages, such as:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
If you recover money for your damages from that third party, however, you
will be required to reimburse the workers' comp insurance company
for the benefits that they paid to you. This process is often referred
to as subrogation.
Can You Sue Your Employer in Virginia?
The more difficult question to answer is whether or not you can sue your
employer. In Virginia, as in many states, if you are hurt at work and
are entitled to receive workers' compensation benefits, you are generally
not able to sue your employer for damages, as workers' comp claims
are meant to be your sole remedy against your employer. This is sometimes
called the "workers' compensation bar," because it bars
you from suing your employer for additional damages.
In some very limited instances, you can successfully sue your employer
for intentional acts that caused you injuries. In Virginia, your employer
would have to have planned to hurt you and cause damages in order for
you to have a successful negligence claim against them. It is certainly
not impossible, but it is very difficult.
If you have been hurt or a loved one has been
killed in a workplace injury, there are a variety of benefits and claims that may be available to you,
including workers' compensation benefits, a claim against a negligent
third party, and the very slim chance of a claim against your employer.
In order to determine which benefits you are entitled to and what negligence
claims you may have if any, you should consult an experienced Richmond
workers' compensation lawyer as soon as possible.
Contact the personal injury attorneys at the Halperin Law Center to discuss your potential claims and compensation!