Get Your Questions Answered Today By Burlington, IA Injury Attorney Nicholas Pothitakis
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I injured my shoulder at work and cannot return to work and do my normal work duties. What benefits can I receive from Iowa Workers' Comp?
When an Iowa worker sustains a work injury and they are not able to return to work and normal work activities, the worker is entitled to receive what is called Healing Period (HP) benefits or Temporary Total Disability (TTD) benefits. These are benefits that workers receive while they are recovering from a work injury in order to make up for lost wages. However, the Iowa worker is not entitled to these benefits if the Iowa employer is able to provide appropriate lighter work during this healing time.
I injured my shoulder and back working at an Iowa company. My shoulder injury occurred in one incident at work. My back injury was caused by continuous bending and lifting at work. How long do I have to file an Iowa Workers' Compensation claim?
The deadline for filing an Iowa Workers' Compensation claim is within two years from the occurrence of the injury when no weekly benefits have been paid or within three years from the last date weekly benefits were paid. Since your shoulder injury occurred during a specific incident, then you will have two years to file a claim for this Iowa injury. Your back injury would be considered a cumulative injury because it came on gradually and over time during your employment at your Iowa company. Your have two years from when you realize that the back injury is a condition serious enough to have an impact on your employment. If you received weekly benefits then the deadline for filing a claim is three years from your last payment.
For a dispute in an Iowa Workers' Compensation case, who makes the decision on what is owed?
Disputes in Iowa Workers' Compensation cases are decided by the Iowa Workers' Compensation Commissioner within the Iowa Workforce Development.
If my Iowa work injury was not caused by one traumatic incident or accident, will I still be eligible for Workers' Compensation benefits?
Yes, you may still be eligible to receive Iowa Workers' Compensation benefits if your Iowa work injury was caused by repetitive or cumulative trauma at work over a time period. Some examples include: back injuries, shoulder injuries and carpal tunnel syndrome. If you are not sure if your injury would be eligible, contact an attorney who specializes in Iowa Work Comp. Many firms, such as Pothitakis Law Firm, offer free initial consultations to discuss your case.
I have to seek medical care for my Iowa work injury. Who chooses the doctors who will treat me?
It is your employer who decides who you will go to for your medical care and they must provide care reasonably suited to treat your injury. If you are not happy with your medical treatment for your work-related injury, you may request alternate care from your employer. If alternate care is not approved by your employer (or the Work Comp insurance company), then you have the right to file a petition for alternate care with the Iowa Workers' Compensation Commissioner.
What is your fee for talking about my case?
Initial consultations about your case are free.
How much does it cost for the initial consultation about my case?
Nothing. The first time we discuss your case will be free.
Can you explain the different kinds of disability benefits provided under Iowa Worker's Compensation Law?
Temporary Total Disability (TTD): If employee has a work injury resulting in more than three days of disability then on the fourth day they are entitled to TTD benefits until the employee has returned to work or similar employment. The three-day waiting period becomes payable if the disability period is longer than fourteen days.
Temporal Partial Disability (TPD): These are benefits that are paid if an employee returns to work doing a job for less pay due to his or her work injury. The TPD benefit must be 66 2/3 % of the difference between the employee's average gross weekly pay at the time of the injury and the employee's current lesser pay. The three-day waiting period is also a requirement for TPD.
Healing Period (HP): While an employee is healing from an injury that caused a permanent impairment, he or she may be entitled to HP benefits starting the first day of disability until the one of the following occurs: 1) The employee comes back to work and it has been medically determined that significant improvement of the injury is not expected; or 2) The employee is medically able to return to work performing a very similar job that he or she was doing at the time of the injury. It is important to note that no waiting period applies to HP benefits.
Permanent Partial Disability (PPD): The employee may be entitled to PPD when a work injury results in a permanent disability. PPD benefits are in addition to the HP benefits and begin at the end of the healing period. There are two different kinds of PPD benefits:
1) Scheduled Member Disabilities—This is when a scheduled body member (i.e. arm, leg, hand, eye, etc.) is involved in the permanent partial disability and is based on loss of use. There is a value (in number of weeks of benefits payable) for each member.
2) Unscheduled (Body as a Whole) Disabilities—This is when a work injury results in a permanent disability to the employee, but the injury is not a scheduled member. It is considered an industrial disability and is compensated based on the percent that the disability reduced the employee's earning capacity. It often involves injury to the back, neck, shoulder, or hip. There are many factors involved in determining industrial disability. There are no specific guidelines indicating how each of the factors are to be considered when figuring benefits. An experienced Worker's Compensation lawyer can provide you guidance concerning this.
Permanent Total Disability (PTD): If an employee is incapable of returning to work because of their work injury, then the employee may be entitled to PTD benefits. These are paid as long as the employee is permanently totally disabled.
Second Injury Fund Benefits: An employee has a PPD to one major body member (hand, arm, foot, leg, or eye) and sustains a PPD because of a workplace injury to a second major body member. The employee may be entitled to benefits from the “Second Injury Fund.” Contact the State of Iowa's Treasurer's Office for a claim form.
Vocational Rehabilitation Benefits: The Iowa Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services (DVRS) aids individuals with disabilities to find and keep employment. Benefits of $100 per week (up to 13 weeks) may be given to employees actively participating in a vocational rehabilitation program. An additional 13 weeks may be paid if approved by the Worker's Compensation Commissioner.
Death Benefits: In Iowa, family members are entitled to death benefits if an employee’s death is a result of a work-related injury under the Iowa Workers' Compensation laws. A surviving spouse is entitled to benefits for the remainder of her life or if remarries, for an additional 2 years after that remarriage. Children are entitled to benefits to the age of 18 unless they are actually dependent beyond the age of 18 and then those benefits can continue under certain circumstances. If a child is in college, they can receive benefits up to the age of 25. Physically or mentally incapacitated children can receive benefits for the time they remain physically or mentally incapacitated. Depending upon the number of dependents (spouse and children), the Iowa Workers' Compensation benefit would be split in some fashion.
In addition to weekly benefits for the decedent’s family, employers are responsible for burial expenses and medical expenses as a result of the injury and death.
If there are no dependents then the only benefits that are provided are medical expenses caused as a result of the Iowa work injury and burial expenses.
For an injury to be covered under the Iowa Workers' Compensation laws, does it have to be one traumatic incident or can it occur over time?
In Iowa, traumatic injuries as well as what are called cumulative injuries are covered under the Iowa Workers' Compensation Act. Many injuries occur as a result of repetitive activities or injuries that occur over time. As long as the injury is related to the work activities, then Iowa Workers' Compensation benefits should be provided.
Many workers in Iowa sustain disabling injuries as a result of repetitive lifting, bending, twisting, etc. The fact that one specific event does not cause the injury does not preclude their entitlement to receive Iowa Workers' Compensation benefits, including medical care and weekly Iowa Workers' Compensation checks. In fact, many very serious injuries occur gradually as opposed to from one specific event. Both traumatic and cumulative injuries are treated the same under Iowa Workers' Compensation laws. If your Iowa work injury comes on gradually, it is important to report it as soon as you believe it's a more serious condition . Cumulative-type injuries, or gradual injuries, are hotly contested Iowa Workers' Compensation claims and for that reason it may be beneficial to speak with an experienced Iowa Workers' Compensation attorney. There are deadlines that have to be met whether the injury is cumulative (gradual) or in one specific incident.
Can an injury be covered under Iowa Workers' Comp Law if it is such that it occured over time or would it have to be one traumatic injury?
Traumatic injuries as well as what are referred to as cumulative injuries are covered under Iowa Workers' Comp Law. Oftentimes, workplace injuries occur over time or are a result of repetitive activities. If this injury is related to work activities, then benefits from Iowa Workers' Compensation should be received.
Countless Iowans sustain disabling injuries at work from repetitive lifting, bending, twisting, etc. The fact being that one specific event does not cause the injury does not prevent their right to receive Iowa Work Comp benefits, which includes medical care as well as weekly Workers' Compensation checks. Actually, many very serious injuries happen gradually as opposed to suddenly from one specific incident. Traumatic and cumulative injuries both are treated the same under Iowa Workers' Comp laws. If an injury comes on slowly, it is very important to report it as soon as you feel it is a more serious condition. Cumulative-type injuries (gradual injuries) are hotly contested Iowa Work Comp claims and therefore, it may be in your best interest to talk to an experienced Iowa Workers' Compensation lawyer. There are certain deadlines that must be met whether the injury is cumulative (gradual) or one specific event.