Almost everyone knows that if you are injured on the job in southeast Iowa, you are entitled to workers’ compensation, but what happens when your on-the-job injury leads to additional injury? What recourse is open to you then?
When this happens, it is important to have a lawyer, like Niko Pothitakis, who understands that all consequences of the original injury are compensable under the Iowa Workers' Compensation Act.
A few years ago, Pothitakis Law had a client who had been injured on the job. The injury was to his back and resulted in lower back surgery. While recovering from the initial injury, the client’s leg gave out and caused him to fall and injure his neck. We were able to successfully prove that the neck injury was a direct result of the initial back injury, because the back injury had caused his leg to give out. The defendants were required to accept and pay for all medical care relating to the neck injury as part of the original workers’ compensation claim.
However, that’s not the end of the story. Our client had spent most of his life working in heavy labor positions and had a limited education. Despite his desire and attempts to recover from his injuries and return to work, the back and neck injuries limited his physical activity and lifting ability. Through expert evaluation, it was determined that his lifting limits had been significantly reduced; he would likely be unable to return to his former employment, and he would be significantly limited in his ability to find future employment. As a result, we sought a reasonable amount in order to resolve the claim.
The workers’ compensation insurance carrier chose to proceed to hearing rather than settle. Through the hearing, it was determined that the client’s injury had resulted in “permanent total disability.” This was the best decision that our client could have hoped for. The defendants were determined to be responsible for all of his medical care resulting from the injuries, and he was awarded lifetime workers’ compensation benefits of $230 per week.
Our client, however, had reasons to desire that the compensation be paid as a lump sum rather than in weekly payments. We approached the insurance carrier on his behalf and made the request. They indicated that they would not pay the benefits as a lump sum. As a result, we formally approached the Workers’ Compensation Commissioner through what is called an Application for Partial Commutation. The request resulted in another hearing being set. After the second hearing, our client was awarded a lump sum of close to $300,000 in place of the weekly payments.
As this case shows, it is sometimes the best course of action to proceed to hearing rather than settle with the affected parties. When this happens, it is vitally important to have a lawyer who is on your side, willing to be your advocate and pursue all avenues that can lead to a decision in your favor. Here at Pothitakis Law, we’re the number one choice among Iowa’s workers’ compensation attorneys.
Talk to Nicholas Pothitakis in a free, confidential, no-obligation meeting and find the answers to your Iowa workers’ compensation questions. Call us at (888) 472-1778 to get started today!