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Virginia Workers' Compensation Laws: A Go-To Guide To Benefits And Claims In 2023

Last updated: November 12, 2023

If you are an employee in Virginia, it is essential to understand the state's workers' compensation laws. These laws provide benefits to employees who suffer work-related injuries or illnesses. Virginia's workers' compensation laws will be discussed in this guide, including the benefits available and the claims process.

What Are Virginia Workers' Compensation Laws?

Virginia's workers' compensation laws are designed to provide financial and medical benefits to employees who suffer work-related injuries or illnesses. These laws ensure that employees receive adequate compensation for work-related injuries or illnesses. The Virginia Workers' Compensation Act provides wage loss benefits and reimbursement for medical expenses related to the compensable injury.

Benefits Under Virginia Workers' Compensation Laws

Virginia workers' compensation laws cover various benefits for injured workers. These benefits include medical expenses, wage loss benefits, specific loss benefits, and death benefits. Medical benefits cover the costs of reasonable and necessary medical treatment related to the injury, including doctor visits, hospitalization, prescription medications, and rehabilitation services.

Injury-related wage loss benefits, or disability benefits, compensate injured workers if they are unable to work. A worker may receive total disability benefits or partial disability benefits depending on the severity of his or her injury and its impact on earning power.

Eligibility Requirements

Eligibility Requirements for Virginia Workers' Compensation Laws

To qualify for workers' compensation benefits in Virginia, injured workers must meet certain eligibility requirements. Here are the concrete steps to determine eligibility:

  • Employment Relationship: The injured worker must be an employee covered by the Virginia Workers' Compensation Act. Independent contractors and volunteers may not be eligible for benefits.

  • Work-Related Injury or Illness: The injury or illness must have occurred due to work-related activities or conditions. It must be directly connected to the worker's job duties or environment.

  • Notice to Employer: The injured worker must notify their employer of the injury or illness within 30 days of its occurrence. Failure to provide timely notice may result in a loss of benefits.

  • Filing a Claim: The injured worker must file a claim with the Virginia Workers' Compensation Commission (VWC) within two years from the accident or the date they became aware of the occupational disease.

  • Medical Evidence: The injured worker must provide evidence that establishes a causal relationship between the work-related injury or illness and the need for medical treatment.

  • An injury or illness must cause disability or wage loss. The type and amount of benefits the injured worker may be entitled to depend on the severity and duration of his or her disability.

It is important to consult the Virginia Workers' Compensation Act and seek legal advice to fully understand the eligibility requirements and ensure compliance with the necessary steps for filing a claim. By meeting these requirements, injured workers can access the benefits they deserve under Virginia's workers' compensation laws.

The Claims Process

To be eligible for benefits, the injury or illness must be work-related. This means the injury must have occurred while performing work duties or due to the work environment. Whether it's a sudden accident or the development of a work-related illness over time, workers' compensation laws cover a wide range of work-related injuries and illnesses.

These benefits are also available to those who may have aggravated a pre-existing condition while working. Compensation benefits may still be available if a pre-existing condition worsens or exacerbates due to work-related activities.

The employment relationship is another key factor in determining eligibility for benefits. In Virginia, most workers are covered by workers' compensation laws, including full-time and part-time employees, as well as seasonal and casual workers. Independent contractors, however, may not be covered under these laws as they are not considered employees.

The employer must be notified as soon as possible of the injury or illness to ensure eligibility for benefits. Reporting an injury promptly helps establish a connection between the injury and the workplace, simplifying filing for compensation. All medical documentation and records necessary to support the claim should be provided to the workers' compensation carrier by the injured worker once the claim has been reported.

The Role of Insurance Companies

Insurance companies play a crucial role in the claims process regarding workers' compensation. As the responsible party for providing compensation benefits to injured workers, insurance companies handle and process workers' compensation claims on behalf of employers.

As soon as an insurance company receives a claim, it begins evaluating the claim to determine its validity and extent, as well as the appropriate compensation benefits. Insurance companies must review various pieces of evidence during the evaluation process, including medical records, statements from injured workers, and other relevant details.

The insurance industry has a vested interest in minimizing its financial liability. Certain claims may be disputed or denied as a result. Their argument may be that the injury has nothing to do with their job or that it is not work-related. For injured workers in such situations, it is crucial to seek legal representation from experienced workers' compensation lawyers who can protect their rights and guide them through the complicated claims process.

Frequently Asked Questions 

1. Who is eligible for workers' compensation benefits in Virginia?

Most employees in Virginia, including full-time, part-time, seasonal, and casual workers, are covered by workers' compensation laws. Independent contractors, however, may not be eligible for these benefits.

2. What types of injuries or illnesses are covered under Virginia workers' compensation laws?

Virginia workers' compensation laws cover various work-related injuries and illnesses. This includes sudden accidents, such as falls or equipment malfunctions, and occupational diseases that develop over time due to work conditions.

3. How do I report a work-related injury or illness in Virginia?

It is crucial to report the injury or illness to your employer immediately. Prompt reporting helps establish the connection between the injury and the workplace, making it easier to file a compensation claim. Failure to report within the specified time limits may jeopardize your ability to receive benefits.

4. What benefits are available under Virginia workers' compensation laws?

Virginia workers' compensation laws provide various benefits, including medical expenses, wage loss benefits, specific loss benefits for permanent impairments, and death benefits for dependents of workers who have died due to a work-related injury or illness.

5. Can I choose my doctor for medical treatment under workers' compensation?

In Virginia, injured workers may initially be required to see a company-approved doctor for evaluation and treatment. However, once the claim is accepted, injured workers may be free to choose their healthcare provider. It is important to follow the guidelines and obtain pre-authorization for certain medical treatments or procedures.


Virginia workers' compensation laws provide essential protection and compensation for workers who suffer injuries or illnesses related to their employment. These laws ensure injured workers receive appropriate medical care, wage loss benefits, and other necessary support to aid their recovery and maintain financial stability during the healing process. 

All employees must know their rights and responsibilities under these laws to ensure they receive the benefits they deserve when faced with a work-related injury or illness.

Are you looking for a workers compensation lawyer? Learn more about your options from our resources at Disability Help.

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