Personal Injury Attorney – Bedford and Roanoke
Lawyers advertising their care & concern for you if you’ve been injured in a car accident or through the negligence of someone else are too numerous to count. It can be overwhelming to an injured person when deciding where to go for help. Large law firms and distant lawyers often take an “assembly line” approach to their injured client’s case. I’ve had many people tell me they didn’t even know their lawyer’s name when these firms were hired. Having a local lawyer that gets to know you and takes time to answer your questions makes the experience a lot less difficult. It’s called “personal” injury for a reason. I am that local lawyer. I help people on a one-on one basis and bring years of experience getting insurance companies to do what they are supposed to do – compensate you for your injuries and other losses related to your injury. I have an office in Bedford and Roanoke. If you live in this beautiful part of the Commonwealth, or were injured in this area, call me for a personalized, FREE consultation.
If you are dealing with a work related injury, this blog’s for you. I’m a Virginia lawyer, but I’d imagine anyone dealing with a work injury could benefit from this informational blog. I am a member of a national group called WILG (Workers Injury Law Group) that has members that practice all states in the U.S., so if you are from outside of Virginia, I can point you in the right direction for help (see wilg.com). However, most of the information in this blog will be based upon Virginia workers’ compensation laws. I will try to keep this workers compensation blog simple because most folks do not want to read through boring legal-speak. You need help, you don’t need more confusion.
- As soon as possible, file a claim with the state agency that handles these things. In Virginia, file a claim for benefits with the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission based in Richmond either online, by phone, or by mail. (add website & link to filing a claim, also list telephone number). If you do not file soon, you might be forever prevented from getting benefits.
- Get medical care as soon as possible after the accident. Even if your claim has been denied and/or you do not have insurance. Remember to tell the doctor, assistant, or all of your pains, injuries, etc. To get protected by the law, having medical records showing your injuries is VERY important.
- Seek legal help as soon as possible. Find an experienced, knowledgeable attorney and meet with him/her. Consultations are often free of charge. DO NOT WORRY ABOUT MAKING THE INSURANCE COMPANY OR YOUR EMPLOYER MAD . You must protect yourself. Who else will?
These are some of the basics to remember if you’ve been hurt at work. Obviously, there is more to know and things can get complicated. But at least do this…
Can I pick my own doctor?
Yes, sort of. You are supposed to be provided a list (also called a “panel”) of three doctors to choose from after your injury. In my experience, I have seen employers and insurance companies often “guide” injured workers to doctors they like rather than offer them a choice. Once you’ve begun treating with the doctor they chose for you, it can be difficult to get switched to a doctor of your choice because that doctor has become the “treating physician.” If you’ve been getting medical care for your work-related injury from a “bone & joint” doctor (orthopedic) or other doctor & that doctor refers you to another specialist (like a “pain” doctor), you get to choose which doctor to go to next. DO NOT LET THE INSURANCE ADJUSTER OR CASE NURSE CHOOSE FOR YOU. You get to choose from a list of three doctors/treatment providers. This list should be provided to you by the workers’ comp insurance company. Insurance companies rarely tell injured workers’ that they have a right to choose from a panel of doctors or treatment providers. Remember, the insurance company is in business to make money. They make less money when they have to pay for medical care for injured workers. It is in their interest to “guide” injured workers’ to doctors that cost them less money. This is not to say that all doctors recommended by the workers’ comp insurance company are “working for them” as many of my clients say. Some of them are fine doctors that truly do their best for their patients. Just remember, you have a right to a choice by law in Virginia. As an example, I know from recent, direct experience of a case where an injured worker received care from the same orthopedic doctor for over two and a half years (23 visits to this doctor). This doctor was very helpful to this worker & the worker continued to receive wage and medical benefits as required by law. The doctor decided the injured worker needed pain management & told his staff to put that in his medical notes. The case nurse assigned by the insurance company talked to his staff & told them the name of a specific pain management doctor to put in the notes. They did. Injured worker is them directed to this specific pain management doctor for “treatment.” After one visit with this doctor, the injured worker was told that his pain was not work related and released to work, full duty. This doctor did not provide treatment at all & simply left the injured worker out in the cold. This and other horrible scenarios are common in the world of workers’ comp. Remember, get quality legal help soon after you are injured.