In the wake of a workplace accident that results in some sort of injury, it is natural to believe that you might have legal recourse against your employer—just like you would against anyone who is potentially responsible for causing you to sustain an injury. After all, isn’t the threat or litigation supposed to incentivize safe work environments and practices? While litigation may seem like the natural response, many employees injured on the job are actually surprised to find that oftentimes, that door is closed to them. Why is it, exactly, that employers seem to receive this special protection? The brief answer to that question is Workers’ Compensation.
Most people are somewhat familiar with the term Workers’ Compensation. It is in essence a state-administered program that provides remedies to workers who are injured in the course of their employment—regardless of whether the employer is actually responsible. In Virginia, Workers Compensation has existed in some form since the early 1900’s. It was originally established precisely to avoid the need for litigation when an employee is injured on the job. Instead, most employers must purchase workers’ compensation liability insurance and when an employee is injured, it is this insurance that provides benefits for lost wages and medical expenses.
Workers’ compensation programs—which are in place all across the nation—have their pros and cons. While injured workers don’t have the possibility of large recoveries often available through litigation, one advantage is that they don’t actually have to go through the lengthy and often stressful litigation process at all. Recovery is simply based on the fact that an injury occurred while the employee was working. Following an on-the-job injury, an employee files a claim, much akin to an insurance claim, in order to seek recovery from the employer. The injuries covered, the types of benefits available, and the options available to an employee when a claim is denied, are all covered in a basic guide provided by the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission. While there are some, limited exceptions to the "umbrella of protection" afforded employers under the Virgnia Workers Compensation Act, it is essentially a "no fault administrative medical bill payment and partial wagfe replacement system." For more detailed explanations, or coverage of particular issues, visit the Herndon workplace injury law firm ABRAMS LANDAU, Ltd.‘s other web site.