The largest employers in Warren County, Virginia, include businesses in the education, health services, manufacturing, and food industries. These companies employ thousands of workers, a significant number of whom are at risk of sustaining accidental work-related injuries. If you’re a Warren County employee who’s hurt on the job, an experienced workers’ comp lawyer can help you pursue the benefits you need and deserve.
If your injuries are serious, your medical bills are likely to be high, and your time off work could be significant. In this situation, the insurance company might choose to employ “3-D” tactics in response to your claim. If this happens, do not hesitate to call Dulaney, Lauer & Thomas.
On-the-Job Injuries in Warren County, Virginia
Employees in Warren County regularly sustain a variety of work-related injuries for which they’re entitled to workers’ comp benefits.
Not only teachers but also administrators, cafeteria workers, bus drivers, maintenance personnel, and other employees of Warren Public Schools, Chelsea Academy, Randolph-Macon Academy, and Mount Laurel Montessori School regularly sustain accidental on-the-job injuries:
- Slip- or trip-and-fall mishaps
- Vehicle accidents during class field trips or on the way to and from school sporting events
- Musculoskeletal disorders that result from arranging desks and moving heavy equipment
- Contagious diseases spread among staff and students via airborne pathogens
- Assault by aggressive or mentally challenged students
- Gunshot injuries or death resulting from mass school shootings
Workers at Axalta Specialty Coatings, Toray Plastics, Elberta Crate and Box Company, Glen Raven, and Cast Stone Systems make up a significant percentage of manufacturing employees in Warren County. Manufacturing jobs are among the most dangerous in terms of accidental on-the-job injuries. Lifting, pushing, and pulling large objects, as well as bending, squatting, and operating heavy machinery, can result in musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). Manufacturing employees are also at risk of accidents caused by equipment malfunction that can cause broken bones, cuts, burns, and the loss of limbs in severe cases.
Comfort of Home Care Agency, Home Health Care of Warren, Valley Health, and the Warren County Health Department employ hundreds of nurse aides, nurses, EMTs, CNAs, nurse practitioners, and physical therapists. Work-related injuries these health care workers are likely to sustain include:
- Exposure to radiation
- Accidental burns from laser procedures
- Communicable diseases spread by bloodborne and airborne pathogens
- MSDs sustained in the process of lifting, bathing, assisting, and turning over patients
- Broken bones, spinal cord damage, and traumatic brain injuries caused by slip-and-fall accidents or resulting from physical assault by aggressive or disturbed patients.
If a third party such as a cleaning service, ambulance driver, pharmaceutical salesperson, or deliverer is fully or partially responsible for your accident in a health services environment, your attorney can help you to file both your workers’ comp claim against your employer and a third-party lawsuit against a defendant not employed by your company.
Food Manufacturing, Processing, and Distribution
Food companies in Warren County include Sysco, Weston Foods, Smithfield Foods, and Nature’s Touch. Cooks, production workers, drivers, caterers, and service personnel at these companies are at risk of various accidental injuries, including:
- Motor vehicle accidents that occur during food delivery and catering assignments
- Kitchen burns from open flames, hot surfaces, boiling liquids, fryers, and grills
- Lacerations and scarring from sharp knives, can openers, meat slicers, and broken glass
- Joint injuries, back trouble, and other MSDs that result from lifting and carrying cases of heavy food products
- Frostbite and other skin damage resulting from overexposure to ice, liquid nitrogen, and other coolants
What to Do If You’re Hurt on the Job in Warren County
If you’re a Warren County employee who suffers an accidental work-related injury, you should seek immediate medical care if your injury requires emergency treatment. Once your condition is stable, take the steps below to initiate your workers’ comp claim for benefits:
Report Your Injury
As soon as possible after your accident, report it in writing to your immediate supervisor or to a claims representative at your workplace. Include the time, place, and details of your injury, including photos, if possible, and the names of any witnesses to the accident. Within ten days, your employer should file a First Report of Injury (FROI) with the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission (VWC) and make the workers’ comp insurer aware of your report.
File a Claim for Benefits
Your next step is to file your claim for benefits by submitting a Claim for Benefits Form from the “Injured Workers” page of the VWC website. Although the VWC gives you 30 days to report your injury and two years to file your claim, you should do both as soon as possible. The insurer can cite any delay on your part as evidence that:
- You’re not as badly hurt as you say you are.
- Your injury is not work-related or is the result of a pre-existing medical condition.
See a Physician
Even if you’ve received initial emergency treatment from a hospital ER, you must seek ongoing care from one of a panel of three physicians whose names should be provided by your employer’s insurer. Choose a doctor and make an appointment right away. Keep all your appointments and follow up on all referrals. Follow your doctor’s orders, take all medication exactly as it’s prescribed, and keep receipts to document all your treatments. If you’re dissatisfied with the doctor, your diagnosis, or your treatment plan, your lawyer can help you to seek an independent examination from an objective doctor of your choice.
Stay Off Social Media
Do not post anything related to your accident or treatment on social media. The workers’ comp insurance company will find any such posts and try to take them out of context in an attempt to dispute or deny your claim. Do not give any statements to the insurer’s adjusters without an attorney present.
Consult a Lawyer
The insurance company has a staff of lawyers and adjusters who are well-trained to delay, dispute, and deny claims. Without your own attorney, it will be difficult to stand up to them and fight successfully for the benefits you deserve. Having your own lawyer levels the playing field and increases your chance of a successful claim. Your lawyer will know how to counter “3-D” tactics, make sure you observe the statute of limitations and all procedural requirements, and represent you in a VWC hearing or Commission Review. If your claim is still denied, your lawyer can appeal your case in civil court.