1. Do Not Fail to Notify Your Employer
Under the Iowa workers' compensation laws, the employee needs to provide notice to the employer within 90 days of the date of his or her injury. (Iowa Code Section 85.23) If the employee fails to meet that deadline, the employee may lose their right to pursue the Iowa Work Comp claim. There are occasions when that deadline can be extended, but it’s better to be vigilant in providing notice as soon as the injury.
2. Seek Medical Care as Soon as Possible
In addition to reporting their injury, the employee needs to seek medical care. On many occasions, employees think that they will simply get better and will try to hold off and wait as long as possible before seeking care. The individual is in a much better position in terms of his or her claim if medical care is sought early on, even if a doctor simply documents the condition and, in their opinion, believes the employee should wait for further care.
3. Don’t Miss Your Doctor’s Appointments
When an employee is scheduled for a doctor’s appointment or a physical therapy appointment, it’s imperative that he or she attend those appointments. Failure to attend these appointments can give the doctor the impression that the injury is not serious or significant or has been resolved. Further, under the Iowa's workers' compensation laws, failure to attend doctor’s appointments could result in the cessation of benefits. (Iowa Code Section 85.39)
4. Make Sure Bills Are Paid by the Insurance Carrier as Opposed to Health Insurance
When an injured employee receives medical care from their physician, it’s important that their bills are turned into the Insurance Carrier (Iowa Code Section 85.27). On some occasions, healthcare providers may be confused or simply prefer to submit the charges to an employee’s health insurance carrier. The problem with this is that the employee may end up paying deductibles or copays for care that should have been paid 100% by the Iowa Workers' Compensation insurance carrier.
5. Do Not Assume That the Insurance Company’s Benefit Calculations Are Correct
The insurance company is obligated to provide the employee benefits while he or she is off of work (Iowa Code Section 85.33). Further, they are obligated to provide the employee benefits if he or she has a permanent injury (Iowa Code Section 85.34). All benefit payments are all based upon the employee’s average weekly wage.
Insurance carriers are notorious for calculating the average weekly wage in a manner that benefits them and results in a reduced wage. By including short weeks, vacation weeks, or weeks in which the employee is sick, the insurance carrier can lower the rate at which they pay all Iowa Workers' Compensation benefits. For these reasons, it’s important for the employee to look deep into how the average weekly wage was computed and whether it is accurate. It has a significant impact on both the weekly checks received while the employee is off of work as well as the permanency benefits that the employee would receive if he or she has a permanent injury.
6. Always Get a Second Opinion
Under the Iowa Workers' Compensation laws, if the physician chosen by the Workers' Compensation insurance carrier or employer sets forth an opinion concerning the employee’s impairment rating and the rating is not believed to be accurate, the employee is entitled to a second opinion under Iowa Code Section 85.39. The Workers' Compensation insurance carrier is responsible for the expense of the second opinion exam. A second opinion is helpful as it may help the employee in terms of what care is most beneficial to them and also may affect the amount they are entitled to under the Iowa Workers' Compensation laws.
7. Do Not Assume that the Insurance Carrier is on Your Side
It is important to note that the insurance carrier’s primary goal is to reduce the costs that are incurred as a result of the employee’s injury. The insurance company is not there to try and provide the employee as many benefits as possible or to maximize the employee’s recovery. Quite the contrary, they are attempting to minimize the costs associated with the medical care, time off work, as well as permanency benefits. For this reason, it is always important that the employee is aware of this fact and to check and double check the information that he or she is being provided concerning the claim. An experienced Iowa workers' compensation attorney can provide extensive guidance to make sure the maximum amount of benefits are paid.
Bonus! 8. Know More about Iowa Worker’s Compensation Laws
If you are confused about Iowa workers compensation rules and regulations, you are not alone. Many people are unfortunately injured while on the job each year. Some are injured in work-related car accidents, and others have burns, slip-and-fall injuries and more. These injuries may keep you away from work for weeks or months while you recover, or they may affect your ability to come back to work ever again. This can have a major impact on your income, and these events can also cause medical expenses to mount. Workers compensation provides you with financial compensation after a work-related incident, but many people have questions about if they qualify for it and how they can file a claim.
The Pothitakis Law Firm P.C. is the company to call when you have questions about compensation. After an accident at work, you may be focused on healing, but you should also take the time to learn more about how worker’s compensation may help you. The fact is that not every employee in Iowa qualifies for worker’s comp, but most do. Some workers may even be told by their employer that they don’t qualify for it, and this is sometimes not accurate information. The best way to determine if you qualify for workers' comp is to contact the Pothitakis Law Firm P.C. Niko Pothitakis and his legal team serve clients in Davenport, Bettendorf, Iowa City, Ottumwa and Fairfield, and they can help you to explore your legal rights for compensation.
A work-related accident can be burdensome and difficult to experience for some. For others, it may even be a life-altering event. Financial compensation may be available to you under worker’s compensation insurance that can ease the financial burden that you face. When you want to know more about how worker’s comp affects you personally and to determine how the specific circumstances of your accident would be considered under a claim, it is best to contact the legal experts at the Pothitakis Law Firm. This legal team can help you to learn more about your rights and can work to pursue justice when filing a claim.