Get Your Questions Answered Today By Burlington, IA Injury Attorney Nicholas Pothitakis

After an injury or accident, you probably have a number of general questions about who was at fault, whether you are owed compensation, and whether you need an attorney to assist you with your claim. Below, we've answered some of the most common questions that we hear at our law firm.
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  • When do I get paid if I am off work as a result of my workers’ compensation injury?

    You’ve suffered a work-related illness or injury, and you were forced to miss work. For many people, this is a worrisome situation. Missed work and lost wages can have a significant and immediate effect on families and lifestyles. So it is natural to want to know what to expect from the workers’ compensation system. It is possible to receive compensation fairly quickly to minimize any unnecessary burdens on the injured worker and his family. Here, we share the basics about the amount of compensation and how it is paid to employees.

    Workers’ Compensation Benefits Are Offered Weekly

    An injured employee is entitled to workers’ compensation benefits if he sustains an injury that causes him to miss more than three days of work due to that injury. Benefits begin on the fourth day and will continue until the employee has returned to work or has been cleared by a doctor as capable of returning to work.

    Payments begin on the 11th day following the injury. If payments are late, the injured worker can be entitled to additional penalty compensation. Typically, the initial three days are not compensated. However, if the injury or illness causes the employee to miss more than 14 days of work, those three days will be paid. These payments cover lost wages, medical bills, and payments for vocational rehabilitation if appropriate.

    How Much Can I Expect to Be Paid From Workers’ Compensation?

    Workers’ compensation benefits cover all medical expenses related to the workplace injury and illness, including doctors’ and hospital bills, medications, necessary supplies or devices, rehabilitation treatment, and even the cost of transportation to and from appointments. These costs are fairly easy to calculate, as they can be determined by adding up the appropriate bills.

    Additionally, the system offers wage replacement. These benefits do not cover the full amount of a lost paycheck, but the compensation is based on a portion of what the employee was earning at the time of the accident. In Iowa, wage replacement is typically offered at 80 percent of the employee’s weekly spendable earnings, with a maximum of $1,688 per week. According to the state commission, the average weekly workers’ compensation payment is $843 per week. When calculating these payments, the commission does not include bonuses, overtime, expense reimbursement, expense allowances, or retroactive pay.

    For employees who are eligible for temporary partial disability, the compensation is calculated differently. These workers have returned to work, but they have not fully recovered and have returned to lesser paying duties. In Iowa, these employees are entitled to benefits to address the gap in their wages. This benefit is calculated at two-thirds (66 2/3 percent) of the difference between the pay before the injury and the pay after. The three-day waiting period applies to these situations, as well.

    Unfortunately, there are times when the employee’s injury or illness results in death. The surviving dependent family member may be eligible for death benefits from the workers’ compensation system. Children can receive payments until age 18 or age 25 if dependent. A surviving spouse can receive payments for life or until he or she is remarried. The family may also eligible for compensation for burial expenses up to set limits.

    Ensuring Prompt Approval and Payment of Benefits in Iowa

    When you are hurt on the job, you need to act in a timely manner. Injured employees should report their injuries to their employers as soon as possible. Not only does this set up a strong case, it allows the system to begin the process of paying benefits as quickly as possible. Iowa employees have 90 days from the date of the injury to report that injury to their employer, and any claims filed after 90 days could be denied regardless of merit.

    If you or someone you love has suffered a work-related injury in Iowa, the experienced workers’ compensation attorneys at the Pothitakis Law Firm may be able to help. Our dedicated legal team can help you understand your rights and ensure that you are able to obtain the benefits you deserve. Request a copy of our free book, 7 Things You Must Know if You Get Hurt at Work, today to learn more.

  • Can I be fired for filing a workers’ compensation claim?

    When an employee suffers a workplace injury or illness, he or she naturally has many concerns. Health and financial concerns are among the most common. The Iowa workers’ compensation system aims to help employees overcome these obstacles by providing for the employee’s medical care and lost wages. However, injured employees may hesitate to seek these important benefits because they are worried about retaliation from their employer. When an employee obtains these benefits, the employer (or its insurance company) must pay the worker the appropriate wages and cover their medical bills. Sometimes, employees fear that the employer will not want to pay what is due and terminate employment to avoid this expense. In general, this behavior is not allowed under the law.

    Iowa Public Policy Prevents Employer Retaliation Against Injured Workers

    Under the Iowa Workers’ Compensation Act, an employer is prohibited from retaliating against or terminating the employment of a worker simply for filing a workers’ compensation claim. In the 1988 court case Springer v. Weeks and Leo Co., Inc., the Iowa Supreme Court ruled in favor of an employee who claimed she had been fired for pursuing a workers’ compensation claim after developing carpal tunnel syndrome on the job. The court stated that terminating an employee for exercising a right to benefits was against the public policy of the state of Iowa. Additionally, state policy protects employees not just from termination but also from other forms of retaliation, including:

    • Demotion
    • Reduction in pay
    • Shift or position change
    • Unfounded disciplinary actions

    Proving an Employer Has Retaliated After a Workers’ Compensation Claim

    There are specific criteria that must be met to show that an employer has acted against state policy. These four elements are:

    • You are an employee entitled to benefits. Not every worker is considered an employee of a business. There are certain exceptions, including independent contractors, who may not be eligible.
    • You filed a claim acceptable under state rules. An injured employee must file a claim in good faith. Even if a workers’ compensation claim is ultimately denied, as long as the employee was acting in an honest manner, he can be protected. An employee who files a fraudulent claim, however, may not be entitled to same protection.
    • You suffered some negative repercussion as a result of that claim. Simply, the injured worker was fired or suffered some other form of retaliation, including those mentioned previously.
    • Your employer took that action in response to your claim. This can often be the most difficult element to prove. Some indications that the employer’s action was a response to the benefits claim include timing, reaction (if managers displayed anger toward the employee), deviation from past company practice, multiple or changing reasons for the employment change, and a history of retaliation against other employees.

    If you have experienced negative consequences at work after filing a workers’ compensation claim, it is important to stand up for yourself. An experienced attorney can help you examine your situation and determine exactly what your rights are in each unique situation.

    A Workers’ Compensation Claim Cannot Protect Employees Entirely

    There are situations in which an employee can experience a negative work change that is protected by the law, however. Just because an injured worker has filed a workers’ compensation claim, it does not mean she cannot be fired for other reasons. There are a number of situations in which an employer is within its rights to change the work status of an injured worker, including:

    • Company downsizing
    • Just cause for termination (unrelated to the injury)
    • The employee is unable to perform job duties

    Injured Employees Can Obtain Compensation for Employer Retaliation

    If an injured employee is fired or otherwise retaliated against simply because of a workers’ compensation claim, the employer can be held accountable. The employee can obtain both the workers’ compensation benefits he deserves, as well as:

    • Back pay
    • Compensation for losses related to termination, such as the expense of looking for a new job
    • Front pay (wages you would have earned going forward) or reinstatement of employment
    • Attorney’s fees

    If you or someone you love has been treated unfairly or wrongly terminated after a workplace injury, you have rights in Iowa that can be protected. Contact the experienced workers’ compensation attorneys the Pothitakis Law Firm today to talk with a member of our team and schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.
     

  • What is lost earning capacity in a worker's compensation case?

    When it comes to determining workers’ compensation benefits, no two situations are alike. For every employee and every injury, a unique set of circumstances shapes the landscape of what the benefits and the future will look like.

    Compensation is determined by a combination of many of these different factors. Some are concrete and can be easily calculated, such as medical bills and lost past wages. Others, however, are less clear and can be left to the discretion of the court or adjusted in negotiation with insurance companies. One important element in these cases is lost earning capacity. Workers’ compensation law in Iowa recognizes that a work injury may affect the employee’s ability to earn income going forward, and lost earning capacity attempts to address that loss.

    Lost Earning Capacity Identifies Income That Will Be Lost in the Future

    Lost earning capacity, sometimes called future loss of earning or impairment of earning power, refers to the fact that an injured employee may not be able to earn the income he might have if not for the injury. It attempts to address how an injury will affect a person’s ability to earn income in the future and how a person’s career would have proceeded without the injury. For example, if a police officer is struck by a car on the job and suffers a shoulder injury that prevents him from performing his duties now and in the future, his employment future is changed. He may not be able to advance as would have without the burden of the injury, or he may not even be able to continue to work as a police officer at all.

    Determining lost earning capacity can be a complicated process, as obviously it is difficult to predict the future. Simply multiplying wages may not provide a clear picture of what could be lost, as many people experience improvements in talent and skill that can lead to promotions and pay raises over the years.

    Factors That Affect Lost Earning Capacity in Iowa Workers’ Compensation Cases

    In an attempt to best address lost earning capacity as fairly as possible, a variety of factors are considered. These can include:

    • Medical condition before the injury.
    • Medical condition immediately after the injury.
    • Current medical condition.
    • The part of the body injured.
    • Length of recovery.
    • Work experience.
    • Intellectual, emotional, and physical capacity to learn to perform other work.
    • Earnings before and after the injury.
    • Age.
    • Education.
    • Motivation.
    • Functional impairment related to the injury.
    • Loss of ability to do your old job.
    • Loss of earnings because of the injury.

    Many of these factors will require support from corroborating documents or the testimony of an expert witness. An experienced workers’ compensation lawyer can help an injured worker gather the appropriate medical records, employment and education history, financial papers, and more. In addition, a skilled attorney know what expert witnesses are appropriate and can find them, interview them, and make sure their testimony is heard to support the claim.

    Lost Earning Capacity Can Play an Important Role in Your Future

    If you’ve suffered a serious injury on the job and you will not be able to make a full recovery, the future can seem uncertain. In these cases, it is important that the courts or insurance adjustors understand the full impact the injury will have on you and your family going forward.

    Lost earning capacity is intended to ensure that injured employees are able to maintain a safe and secure future. Unfortunately, it is common for insurance companies to dispute many aspects of a case in an attempt to save money. Lost earning capacity can be a gray area, and an experienced workers’ compensation attorney can help make sure your interests are protected and you are able to obtain the compensation you deserve.

    If you or someone you love has suffered a work-related injury, the experienced attorneys at the Pothitakis Law Firm may be able to help. Call our Iowa legal team today at 1-888-488-7485 so we can schedule a free, no-obligation consultation at one of our two convenient locations.

  • What kinds of work injuries are covered by Iowa workers’ compensation?

    The Iowa workers’ compensation system exists to protect employees when they suffer an illness or injury on the job. The benefits are available to provide medical care and offer wage replacement so the employee can recover as fully as possible.

    For many injured employees, workers’ compensation is a vital component of both their physical recovery and their continued financial stability. Often, employees are not familiar with the system and are unsure of their rights. They may not even know what kinds of injuries are covered. Fortunately, workers’ compensation benefits address a wide range of injuries and illnesses that can result from a variety of causes. Here, we’ll find out more about these injuries.

    Workers’ Compensation Can Help With Different Types of Injuries

    According to the Iowa workers’ compensation commission, an injury is defined as “any health impairment other than the normal building up and tearing down of body tissues.” Commonly, people think workers’ compensation covers those who are injured in an accident at work. While this is true, the system addresses many different types of injuries that are the result of many different situations, including:

    • A traumatic physical injury caused by a single event. Car accidents, machining issues, falls, object strikes, and more are classic examples of accidents at work. These one-time events can leave employees with injuries that cause pain, require medical treatment, and prevent the employee from performing their job duties for some amount of time.
       
    • A cumulative injury caused by repetitive stress or exposure that develops over time. Repetitive use injuries are becoming increasingly common among the workforce, especially with the growing use of computers and machinery. Even seemingly light work such as typing or small tool use can cause these types of injuries when performed day after day. Tendonitis, carpal tunnel, and bursitis are the most common repetitive use injuries.
       
    • A work-related disease such as heart or lung disease. Some occupations put employees at risk for diseases that can affect major body organs, even while the employee may appear healthy. Miners, firefighters, police officers, and many more can breathe in toxins or be exposed to chemicals harmful to their health while at work. Hearing loss is also covered when it is the result of noise and a lack of appropriate training and protection.
       
    • A mental or emotional injury that is work-related. While most jobs are accompanied by some amount of stress, there are times when an employee experiences an emotional injury that affects them for months or even years. In these cases, it can be possible to pursue a workers’ compensation claim.
       
    • Aggravation of a pre-existing condition. Generally, workers’ compensation does not cover any pre-existing conditions. However, if a condition is worsened by the work environment, it can be possible to obtain benefits.

    When Work Injuries Occur Outside the Workplace

    Jobs can encompass many different types of tasks and duties, and they can take an employee from a job site to an office to virtually anywhere. Workers’ compensation will cover most job-related injuries, even ones that do not occur at the work site. This means that workers can obtain benefits for injuries sustained nearly anywhere in the course of their duties—when traveling for work, on a job site, or even possibly at a work social function. As long as the employee was taking action to perform a job-related task, it can be covered.

    Exceptions to the Iowa Workers’ Compensation Injury Rules

    There are a few circumstances in which the employer is not obligated to pay an injured employee workers’ compensation benefits, even if the injury occurs at work or is work-related. These include injuries sustained:

    • Outside of work.
    • While the employee was under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
    • When the employee was acting in direct conflict with stated company policy.
    • In a fight.
    • While the employee was committing a crime.

    If you or someone you love has suffered a work-related injury, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. Even if the injury did not occur at the office, or if you aren’t sure if you have a case, reach out to the experienced lawyers at the Pothitakis Law Firm. Fill out our “contact us” form on this page, and you’ll receive a prompt response from a member of our legal team who can answer your questions and schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.

  • How is my medical information made available to the parties involved in my Workers' Compensation claim?

    medical recordsToday, there are a number of laws that protect our medical records. Care providers and insurance companies are not permitted to share information about patients without permission, and stiff penalties exist for those who do so.

    However, when an injured or ill employee pursues a workers’ compensation claim, there are different rules. These cases are based on the assertion that an employee suffered because of a work-related situation, so it is necessary to show medical evidence that supports that claim. To that end, medical records typically must be shared with the parties involved, including the employer and insurance company. Every situation is unique, so there are specific guidelines that govern what information must be shared and how it should be disseminated.

    Why Does My Employer Want to Read My Medical Records?

    Employers and their insurers want to know that an illness or injury was, in fact, suffered. This means they want to see two main pieces of information:

    • Medical treatment was obtained and necessary. If an employee did not seek treatment for the injury he claims to have suffered, it can be difficult to pursue a workers’ compensation claim. If he did, medical records will show that a qualified provider administered necessary care.
    •  The documented injuries match the incident report. Medical records documenting injuries can corroborate an employee's claim as to how the workplace accident occurred. For example, if an employee claims that repetitive use of machinery has damaged his elbow, his medical records can show the nature of the elbow injury, the specific diagnosis, and the type of treatment prescribed or stated as necessary in the future.

    Do I Have to Sign the Waiver to Allow Access to My Medical Records?

    The short answer is yes. Iowa workers’ compensation law requires injured employees to provide access to medical records to prove the claim by signing a waiver that allows providers to share personal information. Unfortunately, this may include information the employee may consider personal or even embarrassing. Additionally, medical records are also typically required in cases involving the death of an employee, and an authorized representative of the deceased may be asked to sign a waiver.

    An insurance company representative may attempt to get an employee to sign a waiver allowing unlimited access to all records, including past records and records not related to the work injury. While the insurer is entitled to obtain information to gain a comprehensive view of any earlier injuries or pre-existing conditions, there can be limits. An experienced workers’ compensation attorney can help injured workers understand their rights and work to protect privacy as much as possible.

    It is also important to note that both sides have an equal duty to provide records. If requested, the employer and insurance company must also provide the employee with copies of the medical records they receive. Both sides are entitled to have all the same information.

    Who Is Allowed to Share My Personal Information?

    Employers and insurance companies have the right to seek information from any provider who treated a worker relevant to the work injury. This can include your family doctor, hospital staff, psychiatrists or psychologists, rehabilitation therapists, and any specialists.

    Once an employer or insurance company has your medical information, they are obligated to protect your privacy as much as possible. Outside use for your workers’ compensation claim, your medical information is confidential.

    Although it may be uncomfortable, you'll need to provide personal information to properly settle a workers' compensation claim. Fortunately, the experienced attorneys at the Pothitakis Law Firm can help you protect your privacy as much as possible and offer guidance in these difficult situations. Learn more about Iowa workers’ compensation and how our legal team may be able to help by downloading a free copy of our book, 7 Things You Must Know if You Get Hurt at Work.

     

  • What is workers’ compensation?

    workers' compLast year in the United States, there were nearly 3 million reported workplace injuries and illnesses. To ensure the continued well-being of everyone, each state has adopted workers’ compensation laws. These laws protect the interests of both employers and employees, and they ensure the continued well-being and success of both by providing certain compensation to injured employees.

    Iowa Workers’ Compensation Provides Vital Care and Compensation

    The Iowa workers’ compensation system, like others across the country, offers remuneration in three main categories for injured workers and their families:

    • Medical bills: Pending review, medical expenses related to a workplace accident may be covered under workers’ compensation, including hospital stays, surgery, medication, doctors’ appointments, and others.
    • Wage replacement: Often, injured and ill workers are forced to miss work because of their injuries. Hence, they are unable to earn income as they did before the injury. The workers’ compensation system can provide payments while the employee is out of work. The payment amounts are based on a number of factors, including the severity of the injury and the employee’s previous wages.
    • Rehabilitation services: The goal of any care program is to help a person recover after suffering from an illness or injury. The workers’ compensation system may pay for treatment that enables an injured employee to regain as much function as possible, including physical and emotional therapy. This can also include vocational rehabilitation to help the employee rejoin the workforce.

    In the event a workplace injury results in an employee’s death, surviving family members may be eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits, including funeral costs and wage replacement.

    Workers’ Comp Exists to Protect Everyone in the Workforce

    Workers’ compensation protects both employees and employers after an accident or other scenario causes a worker to suffer injuries or fall ill. The system is based on two main tenets:

    • Workers can obtain benefits regardless of who was at fault. Injuries and illnesses occur as a result of many different circumstances. Sometimes, the employer is at fault if the work environment is unsafe. Other times, potentially careless behavior of the employee causes the injury. However, under workers’ compensation, employers agree to offer benefits no matter what caused an accident.
    • Employers are shielded from further costly and time-consuming litigation. Before workers’ compensation existed, employers were often involved in arduous and expensive litigation, in which they had to show that an employee or some other party was negligent. In exchange for disregarding fault, employers no longer have to do this, and employees may not sue their employer if they receive workers’ compensation benefits.

    Types of Injuries Covered by Iowa Workers’ Compensation

    The workers’ compensation system covers most workplace injuries and illnesses. Injuries sustained both at work or outside the job location but during the course of employment duties are likely covered. For example, if an employee is injured in a car accident while traveling on work business, he may be able to obtain benefits. Workers’ compensation can also cover injuries and illnesses that occur over the course of time due to work-related factors, such as repetitive use injuries, hearing loss, carpal tunnel, chronic back pain, and other conditions.

    However, there are exceptions to the system. Employers and their insurance companies do not have to pay benefits when employees exhibit behavior that is well outside the realm of carelessness, including situations when:

    • The employee is drunk or under the influence of drugs.
    • The employee’s behavior is in violation of stated company policy.
    • The employee’s injuries are self-inflicted or the result of a fight.
    • The employee was injured while committing a crime.

    Additionally, workers’ compensation only covers eligible employees. In Iowa, certain types of workers are excluded from receiving benefits. Some of those positions include:

    • Domestic and casual employees who earn less than $1,500 per year
    • Agricultural laborers who work for a farm with a payroll of less than $2,500 the previous year
    • Safety forces eligible for pension funds
    • Individuals considered independent contractors

    If you or someone you love has suffered injuries performing job-related tasks, you may be eligible for Iowa workers’ compensation benefits. At the Pothitakis Law Firm, our experienced attorneys have helped many injured Iowa employees obtain the medical care and wage replacement they deserved. Call our office or complete the convenient online contact form to learn more and schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.
     

     

  • Do I qualify for Workers' Compensation if my preexisting condition worsened?

    neck injury at work

     

    Under Iowa law a worsening of a preexisting condition is treated the same as a new injury.  If this work injury makes your previous condition worse in terms of pain, severity, or frequency, you would still be able to obtain Workers' Comp benefits.  Be prepared that your employer and their insurance company will try to argue that your current condition is related to your prior problem.  However, the medical testimony can typically establish that this worsening of your condition has occurred because of a work injury.  For example, if you had a bad back and a thorough medical examination reveals that your back problem has been aggravated or made worse by your work activities.  This would qualify you to receive benefits.  

     

     

  • Who chooses my doctor under Iowa workers’ compensation?

    When an Iowa employee is hurt in an accident at work or falls ill due to job conditions, he is typically eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. Workers’ compensation is a system that provides medical care and wage replacement for injured and ill employees. These benefits are meant to ensure that employees are able to recover as fully as possible, and state law requires most employers to provide this to employees at no cost to the employee. However, when the employer or his insurance company is paying the bill, they are able to exercise some control over the care.

    Employers Typically Are Able to Dictate Eligible Providers

    In general, Iowa employers choose the medical providers for injured and ill workers. When an employee sustains an injury, he should file a report with the employer as soon as possible. Once that claim is accepted, the employer will typically provide the injured worker with a list of approved providers. When a worker is treated by an approved provider, the employer is required to pay for the care.

    An employee may want to see a doctor not approved by his employer. In some cases, the employee and the employer may agree to an alternate provider. However, the employer is not obligated to do so and may deny the request. Should a worker choose to pursue care outside the approved list, the worker would be responsible to pay that bill out-of-pocket. It is also worth noting that many health insurance carriers will not pay for care if workers’ compensation benefits are available but unused.

    There Are Some Exceptions to Employer-Chosen Medical Care

    There are a few exceptions in which the injured employee is allowed to select his own provider. These exceptions cover situations in which the employee is unhappy with the care for a variety of reasons and those in which the employee disagrees with the impairment rating offered by an employer-selected physician. In both these cases, it can be possible to petition the workers’ compensation commission for a change in care or second opinion by a doctor of the employee’s choosing.
     

  • How much does it cost to hire an attorney for my Iowa workers’ compensation case?

    When on-the-job injuries or illnesses force employees to miss work, many seek benefits from the workers’ compensation system. This system provides medical care and wage replacement for injured workers when they are unable to perform their normal work duties. Not only can this time be stressful as the worker deals with a painful physical and emotional recovery, the financial strain can impact the entire family. It is natural to try to save money wherever possible, and many employees wonder if they can resolve their case without the help of a qualified attorney. While this can be true for small, straightforward cases, many workers’ compensation cases grow quickly complex, and the advice of an experienced attorney who has helped others navigate the system can be invaluable. Additionally, it is often much more easily managed than one might think.

    Contingency Fee Agreements Help Employees Obtain Quality Representation

    Many attorneys and clients will agree to what is known as a contingency fee agreement. In a contingency fee agreement, the client does not pay the attorney for his services unless the case is won. The attorney and the client agree on a percentage at the start of their relationship, and when the case is over, the legal fees will be drawn directly from the settlement. The injured worker does not have to pay the lawyer out of pocket, nor does he have to pay if the case is not resolved in his favor. For many injured workers, this system is a good option, especially for those who cannot afford an attorney’s hourly rate.

    Some Court-Related Items Do Not Fall Under a Contingency Fee Agreement

    The contingency fee agreement addresses only the fee charged by the lawyer for his knowledge and time. It does not cover some of the other costs associated with a workers’ compensation case, which may include:

    • Court filing fees
    • Records fees
    • Police report fees
    • Postage
    • Investigator fees
    • Expert witness fees

    Not all of these fees may be incurred in every case. Additionally, the attorney and the client should agree on how these fees will be handled before starting the case. Sometimes, these fees are paid by the client as they accrue, while other times it is agreed that those fees will also be taken from the settlement amount. If no settlement is obtained, the client may need to pay those fees out of pocket.

    It is best to discuss the fee agreement with your lawyer upfront, so there are no surprises as your case progresses. Effective representation can be affordable, however, and the lawyers at the Pothitakis Law Firm, P.C., are here to work with you as best we can.

    If you or someone you love is facing a workers’ compensation case, don’t risk your health or financial future by going it alone. Take a moment to fill out one of our online contact forms, and you’ll receive a prompt response from a member of our team who can help you learn more.
     

  • What is power of attorney?

    signing power of attorney document

    A power of attorney is a legal document that gives a designated person the authority to make personal, business, legal, and medical decisions on your behalf if you become unable to do so.  It's advisable to have both medical and financial powers of attorney.  If you become unable to make decisions for yourself and you don't have to go to court to establish the right to make those decisions in your stead. 

    A medical power of attorney allows someone to make medical decisions for you should you become physically or mentally incapacitated.  This person is bound to follow your treatment and end-of-life wishes.  It is important to create a living will to outline such wishes.  

    A financial power of attorney designates an individual who will take care of financial decision-making on your behalf.  When you draft the document with your attorney, you can give your power of attorney broad power or limited power.  The duties of a financial power of attorney end at the designator's death.  If you wish an individual to take care of your estate finances, you must also name him or her as executor in your will.  

    For more information on power of attorney, consult with a family law attorney.