Legal Assistance From an Experienced Richmond Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
Helping Virginia residents for more than 35 years
If you are injured on the job or suffer a work-related illness, you are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits, regardless of whether or not the employer was at fault. However, getting the full benefits you deserve requires proving the extent of the harm you have suffered. Gerald G. Lutkenhaus in Richmond is an experienced workers’ compensation attorney who has been recognized by peers for his skill and professionalism. I can assist you in all aspects of your benefits claim and in appealing any adverse decision.
What should you do if you are injured at work?
You must give written notice of the accident to your employer as soon as practicable. You have two years after the accident or discovery of the illness to file a claim for benefits, although that period may be extended if your employer either failed to report the incident to the state, paid your wages or arranged for you to get medical treatment. Under a law that took effect on July 1, 2020, your employer must give you notice whether it intends to approve or deny your claim or is unable to make a decision. The employer must give its reasons for denying your claim or must explain what additional information it needs to make a determination.
What kind of workers’ compensation benefits can you get?
The Virginia Workers’ Compensation Act provides several different types of benefits:
- Lifetime medical benefits — Payment for medical treatment and expenses for your injury or occupational disease, now and in the future
- Temporary total disability — Replacement for wages you lost while completely out of work
- Temporary partial disability — Replacement for wages you lost while partially out of work or working light duty
- Permanent partial disability — Compensation for loss of use of body parts, hearing or vision, amputation, disfigurement, scarring or lung disease
- Medical expenses — Payment or reimbursement of medical bills or out of pocket expenses, such as prescriptions and transportation
- Death benefits — Payment or reimbursement of funeral and transportation expenses or wage loss replacement for a surviving spouse, children or other recognized dependents
- Other benefits — Vocational rehabilitation and anything else that is medically necessary
Claims for these benefits need to be supported by medical evidence and other documentation. If you are injured, do not wait to seek my help. I will answer your questions, give the written notice to your employer, file a claim for you, deal with your employer’s attorney and represent you throughout the process. I also handle claims for Social Security disability benefits.
What can you do if your claim is denied?
If your employer refuses to approve your claim or later seeks to terminate your benefits, you can request a hearing before a deputy commissioner of the Workers’ Compensation Commission (WCC). Both you and your employer will be entitled to conduct discovery before the hearing and to present evidence at the hearing.
No matter how strong a case you have, there is a chance that the deputy commissioner will rule against you. Fortunately, you have a right to appeal to the full WCC within 30 days. The WCC may either review the evidence introduced at the first hearing or rehear the case itself. If you are still not satisfied, you may appeal to the Virginia Court of Appeals, which will consider the full record. Of course, your employer has the same rights.
I have handled more than 1,000 successful hearings in behalf of claimants, including numerous reversals of deputy commissioners’ denials. I have argued workers’ compensation appeals at every level, including the state Supreme Court. If you need to appeal, I will represent you ever step of the way.