October 5, 2015- Richmond, VA
Fire rescue crews responded to a harrowing scene Monday, after a 10-foot section of fallen tree fell loose and struck a maintenance worker, very nearly knocking the worker into a ravine.
The injured worker was a member of a maintenance team tasked with clearing storm damage near 304 Clovelly Road; specifically, a tree that had fallen over a ravine and damaged power lines. The worker – who was wearing a safety harness the time of the accident – was left suspended over the ravine for some time before safety responders could lower him to safety.
According to ABC 8 News, the worker appeared to have injured his shoulder from being struck by the tree and was transported to an area hospital by ambulance for treatment.
In Virginia, employees who are injured on the job can recover workers’ compensation benefits, including lost wages, medical expenses, disability payments, and costs associated with rehabilitation and retraining. The Virginia workers’ compensation system is state-administered and financed by mandatory employer contributions.
While filing for benefits may seem straightforward, the Virginia workers’ compensation system is incredibly complex:
- Unlike many states, Virginia has no statutory required time frame for payment or denial of a claim. Therefore, retaining experienced legal counsel may be helpful in avoiding cumbersome delays.
- In Virginia, workers must file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits, whereas in many states, filing a first report of injury generally begins the claim process. This means that simply reporting an accident or injury to an employer is not enough – workers must affirmatively file a claim specifically for workers’ compensation benefits.
- The Virginia Workers’ Compensation Act requires that all injuries be reported to the employer within 30 days of the injury. However, it is in an injured worker’s best interest to report any injury to the employer immediately – Virginia does not recognize “cumulative trauma” injuries (i.e. injuries that do not happen at a specific time, but over a period of time) and workers may be expected to pinpoint the exact time of injury or onset of pain down to the second. Immediately reporting workplace injuries may help lessen the likelihood that the “cumulative trauma” defense will be successful.
The complications described above represent merely the tip of the iceberg. If you or a loved one is injured on the job, the experienced Virginia workers’ compensation attorneys at ReidGoodwin are here to help. Contact the firm today to schedule a legal evaluation.