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How Long Do You Have to File a Work-Related Injury in Virginia?


Employees who sustain work-related injuries or conditions may be entitled to workers’ comp benefits, but only if they report the incident and file a claim within the period prescribed by law. Otherwise, a delay in reporting and filing may lead to a denial of their claim.  

However, not all employees are aware of these time limits, also known as the statute of limitations. 

This article sheds light on how long a worker has to report an occupational illness or a work-related accident to ensure that their rights for compensation and benefits remain protected by the Workers’ Compensation Act. 

How Long Do You Have to Report a Work-Related Injury in Virginia?

Any work-related injury or accident needs to be reported to the employer. This is referred to as the Notice of Accident under the law. Any employee who suffers from an injury while they’re at work must provide their employer with written notice of the incident immediately or within a reasonable period. 

In Virginia, the employee has 30 days from the date of the injury to give the notice in writing to their employer. It should include the following details:

  • The name of the employee
  • The employee’s contact information including their address, telephone number, and email address
  • The cause of the accident
  • When and where the accident happened
  • Which part of the employee’s body sustained injuries

Consult the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission for resources and information. 

Providing this notice is a statutory requirement because it is designed to give the employer enough time to investigate what happened during the accident and ensure that proper medical care is promptly extended to the employee. 

Delays in reporting the injury can also lead to delays in getting prompt medical care and assistance. Don’t wait to report an injury. 

What Are Virginia Workers’ Compensation Time Limits?

Here are some important time limits for workers who are seeking compensation for their work-related injuries:

  • As mentioned above, injuries or illnesses should be reported to their employer within 30 days from the date of the accident, or within 30 days after a doctor says that they’re suffering from a work-related condition. Failure to observe this time limit can lead to the claim being denied.
  • The employer then has 10 days to file a report of the illness or accident to the Commission.
  • A workers’ compensation claim for lifetime medical benefits, temporary partial disability, temporary total disability, and wage replacement must be filed within 2 years.
  • A workers’ compensation claim for permanent partial disability and permanent total disability must be filed within 3 years.
  • For those who are seeking additional indemnity or wage loss benefits because of a change in condition, a 2-year prescription period starting from the last payment under the Award Order must be observed. However, there’s also a 90-day rule for these claims—retroactive benefits only date as far back as 90 days before the filing date.
  • There are also certain disease-specific time limits. For example, employees only have 2 years after a diagnosis to claim benefits for occupational diseases like asbestosis, byssinosis, hearing loss, carpal tunnel syndrome, or mold exposure.

Are There Exceptions to the Statutes of Limitations?

In general, the employee is out of luck if they fail to file their claim before the time limit has lapsed. However, there are certain exceptions. Here are some of them:

  • Timely notice was given by the employee to the employer
  • The employer was unable to report the injury or continue paying the employee’s wages
  • The actions of the employer unduly prejudiced the employee

Hire an Experienced Workers’ Comp Attorney Today

Wondering how to make your claims process as smooth as possible? Worried about making the deadline when you’re still recovering from your injuries? Call a qualified and experienced workers’ comp attorney to help you.

Slominski Law has successfully represented countless injured workers and their families. If you’re worried about a workers’ compensation issue, reach out to us today. Our attorneys will help you build a strong case and get you the benefits you’re entitled to. Call (434) 373-9643 in Lynchburg and (540) 307-8724 in Roanoke.