How long will my Virginia workers’ compensation case take?
This is one of the most common questions asked by someone starting a workers compensation case. I usually answer the question with a series of questions. When are you going to finish your medical treatment? When will your doctor say you’re are MMI? When are you going to return to work? How long will you be receiving physical therapy or vocational rehabilitation? The answer to any of these questions might give you some idea of how long your case will take. The problem is that most people have no idea how long their medical treatment will last, and so it would be a guess as to how long the case might take. Some cases are over in six months, others take years. The major factors which will determine how long your case will take is the severity of your injury. Generally the more serious the injury, the longer the time needed to bring it to conclusion. It never makes any sense to settle a case before you know the nature and extent of your injury.
Virginia Workers compensation settlements are approved by a Deputy Commissioner. The Deputy Commissioner must decide whether the settlement you reached is in your best interests. If the Commissioner cannot conclude that your settlement is in your best interests, then your settlement will not be approved, and the case continues. Generally the Commissioners are looking to see that the medical treatment has concluded (that the treating physician has stated that the claimant has reached maximum medical improvement), or that there is a rating of the permanent partial disability, or that the parties have reached a settlement of a disputed case.