Workplace Injury

Computing Virginia Workers’ Compensation

Posted by on Aug 28, 2013 in Workers' Compensation, Workplace Injury | 1 comment

When you get injured on the job through an accident or from other work-related reason and you are incapable of going back to work immediately, it can make it hard to make ends meet. That is why the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission (VWC) was formed to oversee the ordering and dispensing of benefits for injured workers. However, it may not be a simple matter at all, especially in Virginia.

Virginia is particularly employer-friendly, and any claims made to the VWC for workers, whether for workers’ compensation or personal injury tends to be favorable to the employer. In fact, under the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Act, the employer is immune from personal injury claims except in rare cases when an employee receives workers’ compensation benefits. There are also many pitfalls and rules that can derail a claim before it can even get started. It is therefore important that any VWC claim is handled by a lawyer who has a deep knowledge and wide experience with the laws governing workers’ compensation.

When it comes to workers’ compensation, Virginia puts a limit to how long (500 weeks) that an employee can claim benefits except in cases of total and permanent disability which will keep the injured worker from returning to work at all. These benefits, most particularly the weekly payments are computed based on the worker’s earning capacity within the previous 52 weeks, and is typically 66 2/3 %, not exceeding 100% and not lower than 25%. Exceptions are made for AmeriCorps members and Food Stamp Employment and Training Program participants, which are not eligible for workers’ compensation at all. More recently, maritime employees are also barred from claiming workers’ compensation from the VWC.

Again, the process is not as simple as it seems. There are certain conditions under which a worker can claim more benefits under the VWC, under another federal or state program, or through a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit. Computing for the maximum compensation an injured worker in Virginia requires extensive knowledge about workers’ compensation laws. Since reputable injury law firms require no upfront fees and pass through the VWC to approve contingent fees, an injured worker will have nothing to lose and everything to gain by engaging a good lawyer to file for VWC claims.

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Virginia Maritime Workers Must Claim from the Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act

Posted by on Aug 25, 2013 in Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act, Workers' Compensation, Workplace Injury | 0 comments

As of July 2012, persons engaged in maritime work, including longshoremen, dock workers, port or harbor clerks and checkers, forklift operators—in short, anyone working within navigable waters or employed in work connected with ships, shipbuilding, water transport or delivery may no longer put in a claim under Virginia’s workers’ compensation program but only under the Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act (LHWCA). In the article, the advantages of claiming under LHWCA rather than workers’ compensation in Virginia were enumerated, and it is undoubtedly an improvement.

However, it must be remembered that the statute of limitations for making an LHWCA claim is one year instead of the two under workers’ comp, and that the LHWCA is a federal, not a state, program. As such, it would be imperative to have the right kind of legal assistance and aid to ensure that a claim is carried out successfully. Making any kind of claim with the federal government can be a tedious and complex task that few lay people can accomplish on their own, especially if the injury sustained resulted in a long hospital stay, disability, or death. Gathering together the documents needed not only for making an LHWCA claim and a possible tort claim against the employer, if applicable. As pointed out in the abovementioned article, employers and general contractors have no immunity against a civil action for people who make an LHWCA claim.

If you are unfortunate enough to need to make an LHWCA claim and perhaps file a personal injury suit, choose a lawyer with a thorough knowledge and extensive experience in handling cases involving maritime law as well as personal injury cases in your state.

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