The National Safety Council reports that in the United States a worker suffers a job-related injury or illness every seven seconds. From minor injuries like muscle sprains, strains and simple lacerations to sudden traumatic injuries on the job, employees working in a wide range of industries in Virginia may find that their job puts their health at risk.
In Virginia, employers with at least three (3) employees must carry workers’ compensation insurance to help cover costs related to industrial accidents. In addition to assisting with medical treatment and lost wages during recovery from a compensable injury or illness, workers’ compensation may also provide compensation for permanent disability and assistance with vocational rehabilitation. The Virginia Workers’ Compensation Act provides benefits in three categories to workers who have sustained an injury which meets the rules of the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Act.
1. Lifetime Medical Benefits
Workers’ compensation benefits in Virginia include a Lifetime Medical Award for reasonable, necessary & causally related medical treatment of job-related injuries and/or illnesses that meet the rules of the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Act. Treatment must be directly related to the injury or illness that relates to the industrial accident and must be provided by an authorized medical provider.
In addition to emergency care and hospital expenses, approved treatment may include:
- Diagnostic testing and lab work
- Doctor’s appointments
- Physical and occupational therapy
- Mental health counseling
- Prescriptions and durable medical equipment (like crutches, wheelchairs, prosthetics, etc.)
- Reimbursement for travel expenses to and from medical treatment
2. Compensation for lost wages
If a compensable injury or illness prevents an employee from returning to work for more than 7 days, workers’ compensation may provide Temporary Total Disability (TTD) benefits to compensate the worker for their lost time. An employee is entitled to compensation in the amount of 66 and 2/3% of their pre-injury weekly earnings until they are able to return to work or for a maximum of 500 weeks, whichever happens first. A minimum and maximum amount for weekly compensation is established by the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Act.
If a compensable injury or illness results in an employee returning to work in a reduced capacity workers’ compensation may provide Temporary Partial Disability (TPD) benefits to compensate the worker for their reduced earnings. An employee in this circumstance is entitled to compensation in the amount of 66 and 2/3% of the difference between their pre-injury weekly earnings and their post-injury weekly earnings. These benefits continue until the employee is able to return to full duty work or for a maximum of 500 weeks, whichever happens first.
3. Compensation for permanent loss
When a compensable job-related injury results in loss of use of a body part or the permanent loss of a body part, an employee may be eligible for either Permanent Partial Disability (PPD) or Permanent Total Disability (PTD) benefits. These benefits are paid for the loss of use of the body part at the injured workers Temporary Total Disability rate (66 and 2/3% of their pre-injury weekly wage) and are usually issued in either weekly or lump-sum payments depending on the specific circumstances relating to the injured worker. In cases where there is loss of use of two body parts in the same accident or severe brain damage the injured worker may be eligible for lifetime benefits.