How Long Does It Take to Get a Workers’ Comp Settlement Check in VA?
Injured workers shouldn’t have to wait so long to get their rightful compensation, but the reality is that workers’ comp doesn’t arrive right away. In Virginia, the worker’s comp claims process may take several months, including negotiations for a settlement. When the parties have agreed on a settlement, it may take another month or so for the claimant to get the money.
Here’s a general guide on when to expect your workers’ comp settlement check. To get a more specific time frame on your case, please consult a workers’ compensation attorney.
I settled with the insurance company. When can I get my workers’ comp check in Virginia?
Reaching a settlement agreement with the workers’ comp insurance company is only one step in the process. From the time you make the agreement with the insurer, you may have to wait about six to ten weeks before you can get your workers’ comp check in Virginia. This is because your settlement with the insurer is a tentative settlement agreement which still needs the approval of the Virginia Workers Compensation Commission (VWCC).
The Commission reviews tentative agreements to ensure that they are in the workers’ best interests and that they satisfy technical requirements under the law. Various factors can affect how quickly the commission finishes this review:
- How long it takes for the insurer to provide you the settlement documents
- How long it takes you or your lawyer to review the settlement documents
- Whether your camp proposes changes to the settlement agreement
- How long it takes for those proposed changes to be reflected
- How busy the Settlement Department is at the Commission
- Whether the Commission requires additional documents, and how quickly those documents are furnished
- How long it takes for the judge to do the final review and sign the Award Order.
Once the Commission approves your settlement and gives the Award Order, it will be enforceable after 30 days. Then, after this 30-day wait, the insurance company has another 14 days to pay you the settlement. In short, they must pay you within 44 days of the Award Order being given. If they do not pay on time, they will have to pay you a late penalty, which is an additional 20 percent of your settlement amount.
What happens if the Commission does not approve my settlement with the insurer?
The VWCC does not often reject tentative settlements, but when it does, it doesn’t mean the end of the claim. If the Commission does not approve your settlement with the insurer, they will provide a reason for it, which you or the insurance company has to address. For example, the Commission may want a revision of the agreement’s language, or more documentation on the case. If you are the party that needs to respond, do so promptly with your lawyer’s guidance.
In some cases, if the Commission staff or judge has a concern about how your settlement agreement is worked out, they may ask you to attend a conference with them. It’s a good idea to participate in the conference alongside your attorney so you can understand your rights in relation to your worker’s comp settlement.
Can I get my workers’ comp check faster?
Yes, you may get your workers’ comp check faster by specifying a payment date in your settlement agreement. Demanding a payment date will have to be part of your settlement negotiation with the insurer, and you can expect them to also negotiate a different date. It’s helpful to have an experienced lawyer on your side to assert your preferred timeline.
If the insurance company fails to pay you within 14 days of the agreed payment date, they will be subject to pay the 20 percent late penalty.
What do I do if my workers’ compensation settlement is late?
As mentioned, the insurance company (or the employer itself) will have to pay an additional 20 percent if they fail to pay you within 14 days. However, you’ll have to request this penalty from the Commission. Here’s what to do if your workers’ compensation settlement is late:
- If your check has arrived though it’s past 14 days, save its envelope with the USPS postmark. This is a more important piece of evidence than the date on the check, because checks can be pre- or post-dated. Contact an attorney to help you prepare your penalty request with the VWCC.
- If your check has not arrived at all, you must speak with a workers’ comp lawyer right away to explore another approach in filing the late penalty request.
Talk to a Trusted Virginia Workers’ Comp Lawyer
If your settlement check is delayed, or if you encounter any difficulty in getting your workers’ comp payment in Virginia, get the help of Attorney Jaleh K. Slominski. She has been trusted by Virginian workers for 25+ years, as she advocates for their rights to receive compensation in a fair and timely manner.
Talk to Attorney Slominski about your workers’ compensation check issue. Call (434) 384-9400 in Lynchburg or (540) 554-3762 in Roanoke to get your consultation.