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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  • If a worker sustains a back injury, how is this injury compensated in accordance with Iowa Workers' Compensation Law?

    If you injure any part of your back (lower, middle, upper) at work, you have the right to benefits under Iowa Workers' Compensation Laws. In particular, lower back work injuries can drastically affect a worker's ability to do his or her job. And so being, these types of injuries are considered significant in the Iowa Workers' Compensation system. How your back injury/limitations affect your ability to work is the most important element that determines the amount of money the system will pay for your work related injury. When an Iowa worker sustains a permanent injury to their back, they have the right to benefits according to how the injury affects their ability to work and earn a living. Benefits such as these are called "industrial disability benefits."  At some point there will be a determination of how the injury will affect your ability to work. This is presented in percentage terms. For example, if you lost 50 percent of your ability to work, you would have the right under Iowa law to 50 percent of 500 weeks (amount set by law) or 250 weeks of Iowa work comp benefits for this injury. Under the Iowa Work Comp system, back injuries are frequently pursued being that there are a substantial number of job positions that are made impossible for workers who suffer permanent lower back injuries and limitations.

     

  • How are back injuries compensated under the Iowa workers' comp laws?

    When you injure your low back, middle back or in fact any portion of your back while working you are entitled to benefits under the Iowa workers' compensation laws. Low back injuries are significant in the Iowa work comp system because back limitations can have a drastic affect a person’s ability to work. The effect an Iowa work comp injury has on your ability to work is the primary driver of the amount of money the system will pay for a work related injury. If an Iowa employee sustains a permanent back injury, they are entitled to benefits based on how the back injury affects their ability to work and earn money. These benefits are called "industrial disability benefits." Ultimately there is a determination of how the injury affects your ability to work in percentage terms. If you lose 50 percent of your ability to work you would be entitled to 50 percent of 500 weeks (amount set by law) or 250 weeks of Iowa workers' compensation benefits for the injury. Back injuries are frequently pursued under the Iowa work comp system as there are a significant amount of employment positions that are precluded for persons with permanent low back injuries and limitations.

     

  • If I have a shoulder injury at my Iowa workplace, how am I compensated?

    If you sustain a compensable Iowa Workers’ Compensation injury to your shoulder you are entitled to Iowa work comp benefits. Those benefits include medical benefits (the Iowa employer and insurance carrier pays your medical expenses for the injury), healing period benefits, and permanency benefits. Healing period benefits are benefits paid to you on a weekly basis for each week you are off of work as a result of the Iowa work injury. Those benefits continue until you return to work, are released to similar employment, or placed at maximum medical improvement. Permanency benefits are paid at the end of the healing period benefits. Because the injury is to your shoulder it is considered an injury to your body as a whole. Body as a whole injuries are compensated based on how the injury affects your ability to earn income. This is called “industrial disability benefits." The way an injury affects your ability to earn a living are determined based on your age, education, past work history, restrictions, impairment, and a number of other factors. These benefits are significantly higher than the benefits for scheduled member injury to your arm, hand, leg, or foot. Shoulder injuries can result in significant affects on a person’s ability to work certain jobs and can have a drastic affect on one's ability to work and earn a living.

     

  • If I experience a work related injury, who makes the decision regarding what doctor I will see?

    In accordance with the Iowa Workers’ Compensation laws for an injury that is acknowledged by your employer as related to your work activities, the employer and Iowa Workers’ Compensation insurance company are allowed to decide what physician you will see.  Their right to decide which physician has some limitations.  The medical treatment that is chosen by the employer is required to be reasonable, prompt, and reasonably appropriate to treat the condition without unwarranted inconvenience to the worker.  In cases that the employer or Iowa Work Comp insurance company choose doctors who are either unqualified or who are located very far from the worker’s residence, there is the possibility that the worker may force the employer and insurance carrier to find a different doctor to treat them. 

     One more instance where the worker may have a choice of treatment is when the worker has the legal right in Iowa to a second opinion.  Under the law, the Iowa Workers’ Comp Insurance carrier must pay for a second opinion when:

    1)      The Iowa Workers’ Compensation claim is accepted;

    2)      An impairment rating has been given by the Iowa Work Comp insurance carrier’s physician;

    3)      The injured employee deems the impairment rating as too low.

     These kinds of questions need to be answered by an attorney who has considerable experience in Iowa Workers’ Compensation law.

  • Iowa Workers' Compensation Law- Do I have to be injured in Iowa to receive benefits?

    There are a number of ways that Iowa has jurisdiction over an work injury. If the injury happens in Iowa, you can bring an a claim for benefits in the Iowa Workers compensation system. If the employer has a place of business in Iowa and the employee regularly works at or from that place of business and the employee lives in Iowa also supports Iowa Workers Compensation Law covering the claim. If the employee is working under a  contract of hire made in Iowa and regularly works in the state also satisfies Iowa jurisdiction. There are other ways to be covered by Iowa Workers Compensation law even if injured outside of the state. For that and other reasons, it is important to talk to an Iowa Workers Compensation Lawyer if you have sustained an injury and either you or your employer has some connection with Iowa.

  • What compensation do I have a legal right to if I experience a work related injury?

    You have the right under Iowa law to three types of compensation if you experience a work related injury:  Medical Benefits, Wage Replacement, and Permanency Benefits.

    1.   Your right to Medical Benefits include having your medical bills paid for treatment received due to the injury.  Your employer gets to decide what doctor you will see, however, they are responsible for bills related to your injury under Iowa Workers’ Comp law.   As well, they should be responsible for gas and mileage expenses of getting you to your physician’s office and back.

    2.   Wage Replacement Benefits is another compensation if you have to miss work because of your injury.  You have a legal right in Iowa to receive a salary close in amount to your take-home pay for every week that you miss work due to a work related injury.  The basis on which it “approximates” your take home salary is that is not subject to taxes.

    3.   Lastly, you have the right under Iowa law to have permanent partial disability compensation.  This amount is based on the severity of your Iowa worker injury and, in some circumstances, upon how this injury impacts your future income.  This is the compensation that is usually considered for determining an Iowa Workers’ Compensation claim settlement. 

    You are entitled to additional benefits if you have experienced a work related injury.  An attorney that is experienced in Iowa Workers’ Compensation law would be able to help you determine which benefits you may be entitled to.

     

  • What are some important recommendations to keep in mind if involved in an Iowa Workers' Compensation claim?

     1)      Know that the Iowa Work Comp insurance carrier is not your ally.  They are trying to settle the claim as efficiently and cost effectively as possible.   If they compensate you less than the full value of the claim, then this is definitely more cost effective and helpful for them. 

    2)      The weekly payments and the settlement amount they are inclined to pay may be inaccurate.  Just because the Iowa Workers’ Comp insurance company says it is right and just, doesn’t mean it is true.

    3)      Your right to Iowa Workers’ Compensation benefits does not cease because of the presence of a pre-existing condition or prior physical limitation.  Many of my clients were told that because they had a prior back injury that their new back injury or new aggravation at work is not eligible for Iowa Work Comp benefits.  However, that is not true.

    4)      Even though your workplace may choose your doctor for your first appointment, the employer is not allowed to be in charge of your subsequent medical care free from limitations.  In several cases, you are allowed to request a new physician when you are not satisfied with the one they have chosen.

    5)      Even though you are in discussion of a clime with the Iowa Work Comp insurance company, you still must meet the deadlines set by Iowa Workers’ Comp laws.  By law you must file a claim within two years of the date your injury occurred; or three years from the date of the final payment of weekly Iowa Workers’ Comp benefits.

     It is important to talk over these matters with an attorney who is accomplished in the field of Iowa Workers’ Compensation law.  Several Iowa Workers’ Compensation law firms, such as the Pothitakis Law Firm, P.C., will arrange a free initial meeting to discuss your case.

  • If I gradually sustain an injury at work based upon my work activities as opposed to one single specific incident, am I entitled to receive Workers' Compensation benefits?

    Workers' Compensation injuries in Iowa can either be traumatic incidents or what are called "cumulative injuries." Cumulative injuries are Iowa work injuries that develop over time based upon a work activity. Both traumatic injuries and cumulative injuries are compensable under the Iowa Workers' Compensation laws.

    Your employer and the Iowa Workers' Compensation carrier in many cases try to deny the cumulative injury (gradual) claims. It's important that in situations where you have a physical condition that you relate to your work activities that you discuss this with your physician when you initially seek care. It's also important that you inform your employer that your condition may be related to your work activities.

    You should prepare an incident report or accident form that is provided by your employer so that notice is provided to them of your potential Workers' Compensation injury claim. Your entitlement to benefits would be influenced by whether the doctors believe that your Iowa work injury condition was either caused or aggravated by your Iowa workers compensation injury activities. For questions such as these, it is important that you contact an experienced Workers' Compensation attorney.

  • Do I need to hire a personal injury attorney?

    There are various ways that Personal Injury may result. Personal Injury may be caused by defective or dangerous consumer goods, motor vehicle accidents, slips and falls or even animal attacks. Personal Injury attorneys are experienced with recognizing the strengths and weaknesses of your case. They know before you pursue legal action if you have a potential case and what would be needed to make it stronger. Personal Injury attorneys work with experts in various areas that assist with intelligently investigating the technical and medical aspects of your case as well as investigators to complete all the details. Competent Personal Injury attorneys make certain all investigations in your case are completed to ensure everything is done precisely and correctly. If there is any possibility that you or a loved one was involved in a Personal Injury accident, it is imperative to contact a reliable Personal Injury attorney as soon as possible to guarantee all possible supporting evidence is acquired quickly.

    If you would like to schedule a initial consultation contact an Iowa auto / car accident attorney, representing clients in Burlington, Iowa at the Pothitakis Law Firm, P.C.. Give us a call at (888) 472-1778 or complete our inquiry form.

  • How do I know if I have a case if I have been injured by a dangerous or defective product?

    If you have been injured when using a product was in a defective or dangerous condition when you purchased it, you may be able to recover damages from the manufacturer or seller in a products-liability-based Personal Injury suit. The law on this is based on the responsibility of a manufacturer or other provider of goods to ensure they are providing safe products for the consumer. They will compensate users of the goods for injuries caused by defective or dangerous products if it is proven that placed them into the buyer's hands, making them accountable. Injured persons can be advised by competent Personal Injury lawyers that will know whether they may have a claim against a product manufacturer or seller and may assist them in recovery of the damages to which they are legally entitled.

    The "Product Liability" law governs the liability of the manufacturer (or other provider) for products that injure anyone that uses them. This includes both manufacturers and dealers, as they are the ones that are in the best position to ensure the safety of their products. Any product produced and sold that has been determined to be dangerous leads these to be held accountable for consequential injuries. In order to find if it is the manufacturer or dealer that is responsible for an injury, it is best to consult a knowledgeable, experienced Personal Injury lawyer. It is the Personal Injury lawyer that should advise anyone on whether or not a claim against a product provider should be filed as they have the experience and ability to assist clients in obtaining settlements to recover the compensation to which they are legally entitled.