When can a workers compensation insurance company stop paying weekly wage loss benefits in Virginia?
In order to answer this question it is important for an employee injured in a work accident to first understand how wage loss benefits are paid in the first place. Like many other areas of the law, Virginia Law has established a process to allow an injured worker to pursue payment of wage loss or "wage replacement" benefits if the injury that the employee sustained arose out of the employees employment. While this is not an exhaustive list, here are some of the steps that an injured worker should take to begin the process of claiming wage loss benefits in a Virginia Workers Compensation claim:
1. The employee must report his or her accident to the employer. This is critically important. In most cases, the law demands that the accident be reported to a supervisor, manager or owner of the employer within 30 days. There are, of course, exceptions. If you have not reported your accident to the employer within 30 days, it may be wise to speak with an attorney to discuss the impact of reporting your accident.
2. In many cases, the injured worker starts the process of starting weekly wage loss benefits by filing a claim with the Virginia Workers Compensation Commission. A claim must include several pieces of information including, but potentially not limited to, the claimant's information, the employer's information, the date of the accident, how the accident occurred, the nature of the injury or medical condition claim and whether medical benefits are being sought. In some cases, the insurance company sends "agreement forms" to the injured worker to sign which can result in an "Award Order" for payment of wage loss and medical benefits. Injured workers should review these forms carefully to make sure that the correct injuries are covered and the correct periods of wage loss are being awarded.
3. If agreement forms are not submitted by the insurance company voluntarily, the Virginia Workers Compensation Commission will order the insurance company to respond to the claim filed by the inured worker (known as the "claimant") within 20 days. The insurance company can deny the claim, agree to the claim or agree to part of the claim and deny other parts of the claim. If the insurance company denies the claim, the Commission will do one of a few things. The Commission may refer the claim for "ADR". This is also know as mediation which is intended to try to have the insurance company and the claimant resolve the claim voluntarily with the help of a mediator