Get Your Questions Answered Today By Iowa Workers' Compensation Attorney Nicholas Pothitakis
After an on-the-job injury, you probably have a number of 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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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.
Can I still seek Iowa Workers' Compensation if I had previous back issues and my Iowa work injury worsened my back problems?
In accordance with Iowa Workers’ Compensation laws, a deterioration of a pre-existing physical problem will be considered a new Iowa work injury. You will still qualify for Iowa Workers’ Compensation benefits if your Iowa work injury worsens your prior problem in regards to pain, severity, or frequency. The Iowa Workers’ Compensation insurance company and your employer might try to dispute that your present injury is linked to your previous condition. However, the medical testimony can usually validate changes/worsening of your condition due to an Iowa work comp injury. This is true regardless if the pre-existing condition was due to work or not.
The medical proof that needs to be founded is that your Iowa work injury worsened your previous problem in creating disability.
Therefore, if you experience any kind of Iowa Workers’ Compensation aggravation injury, or if your condition worsens due to a work activity, it is extremely important that you report it to your employer so that it can be reviewed. In these scenarios, it may be advisable to consult with a professional Iowa Workers’ Compensation lawyer.
Am I entitled to Iowa Workers' Comp benefits if my injury came on gradually at work due to my work activities, instead of one particular work incident?
Iowa Workers’ Compensation injuries can be categorized as traumatic occurrences or what we refer to as “cumulative injuries.” Cumulative injuries are Iowa work injuries that progress gradually due to an activity at the workplace. Traumatic injuries and cumulative injuries are both eligible for compensation in accordance with Iowa Workers’ Compensation laws.
In several situations, your employer and the Iowa Work Comp Insurance company attempt to disprove the cumulative injury claims. When you have a physical condition that you deem as being work related, it is necessary that you bring this to your doctor’s attention at the time of your appointment. Also, it is necessary to tell your employer that this condition could be work related.
You need to fill out an accident form or an incident report from your place of work. This provides notice to your employer of your possible Iowa Workers’ Comp injury claim. Your right to Iowa Workers’ Compensation benefits would be influenced by whether the physicians determine that your work injury was caused or aggravated by your Iowa work activities. For important questions like these, you should consult with an attorney who has considerable experience with Iowa Workers’ Compensation law.