What Is Workers’ Compensation?
No matter where you work, there is the chance you will be injured on the job. You may slip on a wet floor and sprain a wrist or have something fall on you. You may even suffer long-term damage to part of your body from repetitive motion such as constant heavy lifting. Some industries lend to a much higher chance of this happening than others. In the event that such an unfortunate event occurs, companies may provide workers’ compensation - compensation for medical costs and wages lost due to the accident. This insurance covers both the employee and the employer.
How It Works
If or when there is an injury on the job or because of a job, you should first file a claim with your employer. In Iowa, you have 90 days to report the injury to your employer. While most employers carry workers’ compensation insurance, many times they (or their insurance provider) do not feel that the amount you feel you deserve is justified. Because of this, it is always best to consult an attorney that specializes in workers’ compensation cases. They will be able to guide you and advise you through the process, ensuring you receive a fair and just compensation for your injury. Oftentimes, the initial consultation is even free of charge.
As far as receiving medical treatment for your work-related injury goes, many states have a time frame between when the accident occurs and when you must receive medical treatment. Your employer may provide a list of doctors they approve of; if you do not see a doctor on that list, it may hurt your ability to receive the most fair compensation. Your doctor will fill out the “Physician’s Initial Report of Injury” form and send it to the Labor Commission, your employer, and your employer’s insurance provider.
Meanwhile, while you are receiving treatment for your injury, your employer will file a “First Report of Injury” and submit it to their insurance provider, who will then forward it to the Labor Commission. You will also receive a copy of this report which includes information about your status as an employee, information about the medical provider, and details about the accident. Employers also have a specific window of time in which this report must be filed.
Once the insurance provider has received one or both of the reports, they will determine the compensability of the injury. They will either ask for an extension of time to continue investigating, deny the claim, or accept the claim. If the insurance provider determines that the claim is in compensable, they will work with you and your employer to determine the amount of lost wages from recovery as well as medical costs incurred.
However, if the provider denies the claim, you should immediately contact your workers’ compensation attorney. They will help you file an “Application for Adjudication of Claim” to appeal denial. Filing the appeal is a complicated legal process that should not be taken on by yourself. Workers’ compensation attorneys have experience in building a strong case that will provide you with the compensation that is rightfully yours. Don’t let the denial of a claim stop you from pursuing the compensation you deserve from a work-related injury.