Q. What are some of the things I need to be careful of when dealing with an Iowa Workers' Compensation claim?
A. 1) Always understand the Iowa Workers' Compensation insurance carrier is not on your side. Their job is to resolve the claim in an efficient and as cost-effective manner as possible--paying you less than the full value of the claim is more efficient and cost effective.
2) The amount they pay on a weekly basis as well as the amount they are willing to provide for in a settlement may be wrong. Simply because they tell you that it is correct and that is it is fair, does not make it so.
3) The fact that you had a pre-existing condition or prior problem does not mean your entitlement to Iowa Workers' Compensation benefits ends. I have many clients that have been told that because they had a prior back injury that their new back injury or new aggravation at work is not compensable. This is not accurate.
4) Although the employer is allowed to make the initial choice of your doctor, they cannot control the care in the future without limits. In many situations, you are able to petition for a different doctor if you are unhappy with the one they have provided.
5) That fact that you are discussing the claim with the Workers' Compensation insurance carrier does not end your obligation to meet the deadlines imposed by the Iowa Workers' Compensation laws. Those laws require you to file the claim within two years of the date of injury or three years from the date of the last payment of weekly Iowa Workers' Compensation benefits.
These issues and many others are ones that can be discussed and should be discussed with an experienced Iowa Workers' Compensation lawyer. Many Workers' Compensation lawyers and firms, including the Pothitakis Law Firm, P.C., will provide an initial consultation about your case without charge.