If you are experiencing pain or discomfort while you are behind the wheel of your truck, loading or unloading cargo or performing some other job duty, you are not alone. According to the National Safety Council, more than half of truck drivers participating in a survey reported suffering musculoskeletal pain while they were working.
When you reported your repetitive motion injury to your supervisor, he or she should have filed a workers’ compensation claim with the company’s WC insurance provider. Instead, you received a denial. You do not have to accept this denial, though. You have the right to receive benefits to cover medical expenses and a portion of your salary while you are off work to recover.
The appeals process
The Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission explains that your first step is to speak with a representative from your employer’s WC insurance company. It may be that submitting your medical records or presenting other relevant information will resolve the issue. If this is not the case, then you should request a hearing from the Workers’ Compensation Commission.
At this hearing, you have the option to represent yourself or hire an attorney. However, your employer and/or the insurance company must have legal representation, so it may be best to seek your own, too.
If you are not successful in receiving approval for benefits at the hearing, your case is not over. You have the right to appeal the opinion. You do not get to present new evidence, but the Commission will review both parties’ written statements and the transcripts of the hearing to determine whether the deputy commissioner made a mistake.
You still have options if the review does not go your way. You can file an appeal with the Virginia Court of Appeals and even take the case to the Supreme Court of Virginia as a last resort.
Each stage of the process comes with a strict statute of limitations, so it is critical to act quickly. Also, keep in mind that your employer and its insurance company may appeal decisions of the commission and the courts, so a decision in your favor may not end the case.