THE IMPORTANCE OF AN “AWARD” IN YOUR WORKERS’ COMPENSATION CASE
If you have been injured on the job and have been taken out of work by your treating physician, the workers ‘compensation insurance carrier may begin paying you weekly indemnity benefits. It is important that the payment of those benefits be documented with the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission. An “Award Agreement” should be sent to you by the workers’ compensation insurance carrier. If that does not occur, you should request that form from them. That Agreement is important for a number of reasons. If your doctor has taken you off of full-duty work, but you have remaining work capacity, even if it is sedentary-duty only (sit-down work), you have a responsibility to look for work. You may go on a number of weeks in a light-duty status, unable to return to your full-duty work, and your employer may not accept you back at work. However, if that Award Agreement has not been signed by both parties, returned to the Commission, and an Award Order entered, then those benefits could be denied, and the carrier could receive a credit against future benefits. On the other hand, if the Award Agreement has been presented to the Commission and an Award Order entered, then you do not have a duty to seek employment within the restrictions provided by your physician.
This can be a confusing process and in most cases, you should seek the advice of an experienced workers’ compensation attorney such as those at our firm.