While we’re on this topic of forms and injury reporting, let’s cover the bases for the state of Virginia. All employers with workers’ comp—and that is most of them—are required to file the Employer’s Accident Report whenever one of their employees gets hurt on the job. One of the issues we haven’t covered with these first report of injury type forms is whether or not an employee can get in trouble for filing one of them.
In other words, we have seen that employers can get in trouble if they don’t file a first report of injury form, but what happens when they do? Is it an open admission of being at fault or in some way liable for their employee’s accident? The short answer is no. Don’t forget that the whole reason in many cases that workers’ comp was established was to protect employers from their employees suing them after an injury.
In Virginia, and in most of the other states that we’ve looked at and will continue to look at, the first report of injury form is merely a step toward starting a possible workers’ comp claim. The form announces to your workers’ comp insurance company and to the state Workers’ Comp Commission that an accident and or injury took place, and that the payment of compensation for disability or for medical care could soon have to commence.
In Virginia, of course the prompt filing of a Employer’s Accident Report form does not preclude a possible dispute among you, the employee, and the workers’ comp insurance company. In the event one of those arises, that is where the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission can come in and offer mediation services, which can help to speed the solution when it comes to how much compensation an employee gets, for how long, and whether or not they get it at all.
In the state if Virginia, most employers must have workers’ comp insurance for their employees, or in the least, have some form of liability protection in case their employees get hurt or sick on the job because of something they did in the course of their work. When I say some form of liability protection, this could involve the self-insurance technique that we talked about previously, whereby the employer itself sets aside the money to pay off any injury claims instead of paying an insurance company to take care of it.
The state of Virginia also sets aside some important institutions in case you and your employee do not see eye to eye after they get injured. This happens in the course of the workers’ comp process, and if it happens in Virginia, there is such a thing as a workers’ comp hearing. These hearings are setup in front of deputy commissioners of the state of Virginia’s workers’ comp division.
The hearing goes along as a regular hearing with evidence finding the key target of the target. That means that all witnesses and parties involved in he hearing can go under oath, and everyone under oath testifying before the hearing will be open to questions from all parties involved in the dispute.
Virginia employers should not get the wrong idea. Each every case in the workers’ comp system in the state does not end up in one of these courts. Instead, as I said earlier, these hearings are only necessary if the employee, the employer and the insurance company have a dispute that they cannot resolve on their own. Then the issue comes down to the hearing, and the deputy commissioner decides who will pay the workers’ comp claim—whether it’s the employer or the insurance carrier who gives the employer their workers’ comp coverage.
While researching the Workers’ Compensation Law, I found that Virginia enacted the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Act on March 21, 1918. The Act became actually effective o January 1, 1919. Originally, Virginia modeled the Act on Indiana’s similar stature. As it was, Virginia became the 37th state to pass a workers’ compensation law.
The Act was designed to protect workers that are injuring in their employment. The law does so by employing a “no-fault” remedy for employees, which means that the injured worker does not have to prove that their work injury was someone else’s fault in order to receive the benefits of the on-the-job injury. One can also think of the Act as a benefit-of-the-doubt act. However, it is essential that the worker establish the conditions for compensation before he or she can receive the benefits of the job-related injury.
If an employee is injured in the workplace during a work-related activity, the employer is liable for the payment of the benefits that the Act covers. This is usually paid for by workers’ compensation insurance. When an employer has workers’ compensation insurance, the benefits are paid by the insurance company directly to the injured worker. It is estimated that over 3 million workers and about 98 percent of Virginia’s workforce are covered by workers’ compensation insurance.
Throughout the decades since the Act was first instated, it has been amended and changed. The changes have mostly to do with social and economic circumstances within the state and various industries.
The benefits covered by the Act include wage loss benefits, reimbursement of medical expenses and the like. When necessary, the Act steps in to mediate the environment between the workers’ and employers’ rights and obligations when there has been an injury in the workplace. As such, both sides are equally protected.