In other articles we’ve spoken about an Award Agreement. That is a document which you may sign whereby you and the workers compensation insurance company agree that you are to be paid certain benefits under the Virginia Workers Compensation Act.
But just because you signed and returned and award agreement to the adjuster doesn’t mean you get paid. The employer still needs to sign it AND forward to the Commission AND then the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission has to convert that agreement into a formal AWARD ORDER. Then 30 days must pass before the Award Order is considered FINAL. Until that happens, almost any change in circumstance will result in the comp carrier reneging on their agreement to pay you, which means you have nothing.
Advantages of an Open Award:
The formal ORDER that is made by the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission is called an OPEN AWARD ORDER. Once you are under that Open Award, the employer/comp carrier must continue to pay you benefits unless and until you are returned to full duty or until the employer accommodates you by letting you return to work, or they can find you another job within your restrictions. Benefits include your 2/3 percentage of lost wages and full payment of all of your related medical bills. The burden is on the employer to show you can work or there is work that meets your restrictions. Know that the employer has many ways to try to show this – such as nurse case managers, pain management doctors and more.
Disadvantages of Not having an Open Award:
The employer can cut you off at any time. For example, if your doctor changes your status from being able to do no work to being able to do light work, the employer will likely cut off your benefits – even if the employer doesn’t have any light work for you to do.
Experienced Virginia Lawyer Joe Miller Knows Workers’ Compensation Law
You need an expert in Virginia Workers Compensation who will fight for you. The employer’s insurance company will likely have an experienced lawyer fighting for them. Joe Miller has helped thousands of Virginia workers get Strong Justice. Contact Joe Miller Law today at 888-694-1671.