The short answer to this question is for a lifetime as long as the medical treatment is causally related to your workplace injury. This is true regardless of whether the care in question is surgery, a hospital visit, physical therapy, or any other type of medical care. If you need medical care as a result of a workplace injury, then it is covered by the award that you receive in worker’s compensation proceedings related to that workplace injury under Virginia law at the end of those proceedings. However, as explained in greater detail below, this analysis is completely different if you choose to settle your claim prior to receipt of a final award. In that case, the settlement amount will include an amount to cover your future medical expenses as a result of the injury. This is one reason it is important for you, as someone injured in a workplace injury, to ensure you have an experienced Virginia worker’s compensation attorney like Kalfus & Nachman to assist you in determining whether settlement or proceeding to a final award is best in your particular case.
Medical Coverage under the Virginia Worker’s Compensation Act for Treatment Associated with Your Workplace Injury
Under the Virginia Workers Compensation Act, an employer’s insurance carrier must pay not only for medical care provided by your treating physician (the physician that has been designated to treat you for your workplace injury) for your workplace injuries, but also for treatment given by other health care providers to whom that treating physician refers you. If the medical treatment meets three criteria, then your employer’s worker’s compensation carrier must pay for this treatment: (1) the medical treatment is related to your workplace injury (2) the medical treatment is required in order to treat either your initial workplace injury or a symptom caused by that injury and (3) your authorized treating physician rendered the treatment or referred you to a health care provider for the additional treatment you received.
One aspect of the medical care coverage provided under the Act that is often misunderstood is that the benefits provided are only for medical treatment associated with your workplace injury. It does not serve as general purpose health insurance that can be used for any medical care or treatment you may need that is unrelated to your workplace injury. Therefore, you would not be able to go to a checkup for a cold or your annual physical and expect that worker’s compensation would cover that, whereas a visit to your primary treating physician for your workplace injury would be covered by worker’s compensation.
What if I Settle My Worker’s Compensation Claim? What Happens with My Future Medical Expenses in That Scenario?
This entire analysis is different if you settle your worker’s compensation claim because one of the conditions that your employer or its insurer will insist upon in a settlement of your claim is that you give up your right to future medical care at their expense as a result of your workplace injury. Therefore, it is particularly important that you ensure that the amount that has been set aside in the settlement is sufficient to cover your future medical expenses. This is where having an experienced Virginia worker’s compensation attorney like the attorneys of Kalfus & Nachman representing you is particularly important, so that you can ensure that any settlement proposed to you by your employer’s worker’s compensation carrier includes sufficient funding to account for your future medical needs as a result of your workplace injury.
Talk to The Experienced Worker’s Compensation Attorneys at Kalfus & Nachman
If you live in the Norfolk, Hampton, Newport News, Portsmouth, Virginia Beach or Roanoke, Virginia, areas and need the help of an experienced Virginia worker’s compensation attorney in helping you to receive the maximum benefits available under Virginia law for your workplace injury, contact Kalfus & Nachman PC by phone at (855) 880-8163 or through the form on this page to schedule a free consultation. We counsel all our clients as to whether a settlement may be in his or her best interests or whether the client would be better off instead of taking their worker’s compensation proceeding all the way to the final award stage instead.