The Claim for Benefits form seems like it should be pretty simple. It’s just a one page and there are only about 20 bits of information that are requested. As with most things, the devil is in the details. If you don’t put down the correct and full information on the claim benefit form when you file it, your claim can be severely damaged. Faulty or incomplete information can make it much easier for an employer to contest parts of your claim as time goes by.
Here are some of the key points to consider.
- You should review your claim with a Virginia Worker’s Compensation attorney BEFORE you file it.
- You should file a formal claim for benefits even if your employer has agreed that you are entitled to benefits. If there is any change of circumstances, the employer can unilaterally (without approval from the Commission) change your benefits – if you didn’t file the claim benefit form.
- Parts of the Body Injured: The answer isn’t to put down just the most serious injury or the one that hurts the most. Claimants need to consider ALL body parts that might be affected now or in the future. A neck injury can impact the spine, the back, the hip, etc.
- Medical Records: These need to be precise. An experienced lawyer will make sure the records include everything the Workers’ Compensation Commission needs to see. Sometimes the patient/worker doesn’t tell the doctor everything the doctor needs to know. Sometimes the doctor doesn’t put down everything in writing that he/she should. A skilled lawyer will make sure it’s done correctly. Also, if you file a claim for benefits, you MUST submit to the Commission all relevant records within 90 days or the claim may be dismissed.
- Pre-Existing Injuries: These injuries should be included if they were aggravated by the workplace accident in any way. Again, a skilled lawyer will make sure these injuries are included. If the accident worsened the pre-existing injury, workers want to get their full worker’s compensation benefits.
- Accident Description: This has to be done precisely. Just because you were hurt while working doesn’t mean there was an “accident”. An accident doesn’t just mean slip and falls or events that are obvious. It’s best to have your lawyer review this so you don’t say too little – and lose your claim– or say too much – and lose your claim.
- Average Gross Earnings or Average Weekly Wage: Many workers give too low a figure. Gross earnings don’t mean you have to deduct taxes. It does not mean your ‘take home pay.’ They do include overtime, bonuses and other earnings. This figure is very important because workers will be paid a percentage of this figure for a long period of time. Workers need to get it just right.
- Request for Benefits: Each of the boxes need to be checked if they apply. The term “Other” can include a lot of benefits that workers may not know they can get (or how they can get them). These include claims for Temporary Total Disability (TTD) and Temporary Partial Disability (TPD). These are legal terms of art. Workers should ask their lawyer if they qualify BEFORE they complete the form.
Workers need to make sure only copies of records, except for the form itself, are filed. If you are savvy with the computer and internet, , all of this can be done online at https://webfile.workcomp.virginia.gov/portal/vwc-portal . If you know how to scan you can even upload all of your records.
Call Joe Miller Esq. Today
You need an experienced Virginia Workers’ Compensation lawyer to fight for you. Joe Miller has represented thousands of injured victims. Call the Work Injury Center at 888-694-1671 or contact us online.