When an employee suffers injury or illness because of work-related activities, that worker and family members must address a number of difficulties. To address those concerns, the Virginia Workers' Compensation Commission offers certain benefits to disabled workers. To access these benefits, an injured worker must file a separate claim with the VWCC, in addition to any payments or settlements made by the employer or the insurance claim administrator.
According to the Virginia Workers' Compensation Act, a disabled worker is entitled to the following benefits if a claim is filed correctly:
- Lifetime medical benefits for workplace injuries and illnesses. This benefit includes out-of-pocket medical, prescription and transportation expenses.
- Full or partial wage replacement in the event of temporary total or partial disability. This benefit starts on the eighth day after the injury.
- Workers who suffer permanent partial disability are also eligible for benefits. Permanent partial disability means loss of functionality or amputation of an arm or leg, loss of hearing or eyesight, amputations, lung disease or certain types of body disfigurement.
- Permanent total disability, which is the loss of both hands, arms, feet, legs or eyes, or if a worker loses any two in one accident or is affected by a brain injury, entitles an affected worker to lifetime wage replacement.
- Death of a worker due to a workplace injury or illness provides survivors wage replacement and funeral expenses.
- Additionally, injured workers are also eligible for cost of living adjustments as well as other applicable reimbursements.
On paper, Virginia's workers' compensation model may look simple, but in reality, workers and survivors often encounter problems when claiming compensation. In order to address these issues, a worker or survivors may consider getting more information so that workers' compensation rights are fully protected against any unfair treatment by the employer or VWCC.
Source: VWC.State.VA.us, "Claim for Benefits Form," Accessed on Mar. 27, 2015