What am I entitled to under Virginia Workers Compensation?
Assuming that you are able to obtain an Award, you are first entitled to reasonable and related lifetime medical compensation for your workplace injuries.
If your injuries render you unable to work, you are further entitled to up to 500 weeks of temporary total disability (TTD) benefits, in the amount of 2/3rds of your average weekly wage. Those payments are further subject to annual cost of living (COLA) increases, which vary from year to year.
If you are receiving TTD benefits under an Open Award, and your doctor releases you to light duty, you will continue to be entitled to receive TTD benefits until you are released to full duty or return to work.
In the event you sustain injuries to two ratable body parts to the extent that you are completely unable to work, or certain other very severe injuries such as brain injuries or paralysis, you may be entitled to permanent and total disability, which means your disability benefits would continue for life.
In the event you are able to return to work, once your doctors have determined that you have reached Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI) if you have a permanent partial impairment rating on a ratable body part, (such as the arms, legs, hands or feet), you may also be entitled to money based on a percentage impairment rating of that body part.
Permanent partial impairment is expressed as a percentage, for instance, the doctor may say you have a 20% permanent partial impairment (PPI) in your left lower extremity (leg). That percentage would entitle you to a certain number of additional weeks of compensation, which is determined by looking at the statutory amounts.
Note that the back or spine is not a ratable body part in Virginia; however, if the spine causes impairments to the extremities, e.g. weakness in the arms or legs, those extremities could be potentially rated as having a permanent partial impairment.
There is also temporary partial disability (TPD), which is where you are able to return to a job paying less than the job you were injured on. You would be entitled to 2/3rds of the difference between your wage at the time of your injury and your wage in your post-injury job.