Frederick County, Virginia, is home to numerous businesses and industries with high rates of on-the-job injuries. If you were hurt while performing your job duties in Frederick County, you’re generally entitled to file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. Workers’ comp provides no-fault coverage of all your medical expenses and reimburses two-thirds of your lost wages if your claim is successful.
Most Virginia employers with three or more workers on the payroll are required to carry workers’ comp insurance. To file for benefits, you don’t have to prove your company did anything wrong to cause your injury. Even if you’re responsible for your own accident, you may still file a claim, and you cannot be penalized by your employer for doing so.
Accidental Injuries Among Frederick County Workers
The biggest employers in Frederick County include health care systems, retailers, manufacturers, warehouses, banks, and schools. Workers in these types of jobs frequently sustain work-related injuries or develop occupational illnesses.
Employees of the Valley Health System and other medical facilities in Frederick County are more likely to be injured on the job than workers in any other sector. Accidents and injuries commonly suffered by nurses, nurse aides, nurse practitioners, physical therapists, CNAs, EMTs, and orderlies include:
- Slip-and-fall accidents resulting in broken bones, spinal cord damage, or traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) that result from bathing, transferring, and turning over patients
- Dangerous levels of radiation due to X-ray procedures
- Burns from the use of lasers
- Exposure to bloodborne and airborne pathogens causing hepatitis, HIV, and COVID-19
- Respiratory problems from exposure to toxic cleaning products and disinfectants
- Accidental ingestion of anesthesia
- Injuries inflicted by aggressive or mentally ill patients
Amazon is the second largest private employer in the U.S. and a big employer in Frederick County. Amazon fulfillment center employees must carry out physically demanding and psychologically stressful duties, including:
- Packing and unpacking large boxes of heavy goods
- Inspecting products
- Lifting heavy items onto and off conveyor belts
- Sorting orders and shipping products
- Using sharp hand tools
- Climbing ladders and working on high platforms where there’s a risk of falling
- Working around high shelves holding heavy items that could fall and cause injury
- Walking miles each day in a huge facility where there might be debris or liquid on the floor
- Operating pallet jacks
- Driving forklifts, trucks, and vans
- Delivering purchases to customers’ homes and businesses in inclement weather
The bending, squatting, reaching, lifting, pushing, and pulling required of Amazon workers can easily result in musculoskeletal disorders, while the constant pressure to pack and deliver products quickly for fast delivery can lead to stress-related traumatic injury. For these reasons, there are more than twice as many workers’ comp claims filed by Amazon employees as there are by workers in other warehousing jobs.
Teachers and other employees of the Frederick County and Winchester City school systems are at risk for accidental injuries such as:
- Trip-and-fall mishaps in hallways or on playgrounds
- Physical attacks by aggressive students or angry parents
- Vehicle accidents during field trips
- Exposure to toxic cleaning fluids
- Equipment accidents in vocational classes
- Gunshot wounds from mass shootings
If you’re an injured school employee, your benefits might be paid by Virginia Workers’ Compensation (VWC) or by a self-insurance pool made up of different school systems. A private school might be insured by a private insurance carrier. A workers’ comp attorney can assist you with a claim regardless of the type of insurance your employer carries.
Banking and Office Work
Office workers at the Navy Federal Credit Union, as well as at other banks and offices in Frederick County, don’t regularly perform physically strenuous work, but they’re still susceptible to a work-related injury. Sitting at a desk and using a computer all day can lead to MSDs, including neck and spinal injuries.
Staring for hours at a screen can cause vision problems. Handling large sums of money at a bank puts you at risk of injury or even death if a robbery occurs. If you’ve suffered any injury as a result of your work in a bank or office, you’re generally entitled to file a claim for workers’ comp benefits.
Clerks, cashiers, loading dock personnel, and other workers at retail outlets like Walmart in Frederick County regularly suffer accidental injuries on the job:
- Tendonitis, rotator cuff injuries, “trigger finger,” back injuries, and other MSDs from lifting, stacking, and shelving products
- Burns and lacerations from hot surfaces and sharp blades in a supermarket deli
- Injuries suffered during robberies
- High blood pressure and psychological issues due to the stress of serving customers and fear of robberies or mass shootings
- Heart disease, stomach problems, and obesity due to disruption of the circadian rhythm (body clock) by shift work
Employees at Trex and other manufacturers in Frederick County are at risk of MSDs due to lifting, bending, squatting, pushing, and pulling. Lacerations, scarring, broken bones, and even amputations can result from accidents caused by faulty equipment or machinery in a manufacturing environment.
What to Do If You’re Hurt on the Job
It’s very important that you initiate the workers’ comp claim process promptly and complete it correctly. If you don’t, your employer’s insurance company can dispute, delay, or deny your claim, especially if it’s an expensive one with high medical bills and significant time off work. A workers’ comp lawyer can guide you through the process to be sure you don’t make errors that could prevent you from getting fair benefits.
Report Your Injury and File a Claim
Report your injury in writing to your supervisor as soon as possible after your accident. Your employer then has ten days to submit a First Report of Injury (FROI) Form with the VA Workers’ Compensation Commission (VWC). Your next step is to file a Claim for Benefits Form from the “Injured Workers” page of the VWC website. Even though you have 30 days to report your injury and two years to file a claim, it’s important that you do both right away. If you delay, the insurer can allege that your injury is not serious or not work-related.
See a Doctor
Your employer’s insurer should provide you with the names of a panel of three physicians from whom you may choose to seek care. Follow your doctor’s advice and treatment plan, keep all your appointments, hold onto receipts to document your treatments, and take all medications exactly as they’re prescribed. If you’re not satisfied with the treatment you receive, your attorney can help you to seek an independent exam from a doctor of your choice.
Let Your Lawyer Do the Talking
Let your attorney communicate on your behalf with the workers’ comp insurer to avoid jeopardizing your claim. Otherwise, any statement you make could be twisted and taken out of context to deprive you of benefits. Your attorney can also make sure you meet all deadlines and observe other procedural requirements. If your claim is denied, your lawyer can request a Commission Review, represent you at a hearing before the VWC, or appeal your denied claim to the Virginia Court of Appeals.