In 2015, over 39,000 Iowa workers suffered a job-related injury. Work injuries affect employees across all industries—from offices to construction sites. These injuries can vary greatly in nature and severity, but any injury can affect one’s ability to continue to work and earn income. For those times, the Iowa workers’ compensation system exists to ensure that workers are able to obtain medical care and help maintain financial security. While there are a number of benefits that can help you or your loved after an injury, it is important to take action as soon as possible to protect your rights and ensure you are able to get the care and support you need.
Four Actions You Should Take Directly After a Work Injury
In Iowa, there are time limits for applying for and obtaining workers’ compensation benefits. Waiting too long can prevent you from receiving the care and compensation you need. After an injury, it is important to:
- Report your injury to your employer. State law requires that any work injury be reported to an employer within 90 days, though it is strongly encouraged the injury be reported as soon as possible. Many employers will have an injured employee fill out an incident report to submit. If your employer does not request this, it is a good idea to write down when and where the incident happened, who witnessed the incident, and document how the incident happened. You should make sure you submit this written documentation to your employer.
- Seek medical care. Even if you are worried about how your bills will be paid, if you are injured at work, you should visit an emergency room or urgent care provider as appropriate. This is vital to both your well-being and any workers’ compensation claim. If an injured employee fails to seek medical care, it may appear as if there was no injury that has been suffered.
- Do not downplay your injuries. Make sure you are honest about the full scope of your injuries and any symptoms experience—with both your employer and your doctor. In some cases, further health issues can develop over time, and it is important that all the relevant parties have all the information as soon as possible.
- Follow the advice of your healthcare provider. Once you have sought medical care, follow through. Listen to your provider and follow his instructions. Failing to do so could result in further pain, slower recovery, and an inability to obtain workers’ compensation benefits.
An Experienced Iowa Workers’ Compensation Attorney Can Help
While the law does not require an injured worker to have an attorney, it is a good idea to seek the advice of legal counsel in workers’ compensation cases. An attorney can help you fully understand your rights and pursue the maximum amount of compensation. Workers’ compensation law is complex; these cases can be confusing and time consuming if not approached appropriately right from the start. The system is also fairly strict, and even simple errors in preparing or filing paperwork can result in lost benefits. It is especially important to consult an attorney if:
- Your employer ignores your report or makes it difficult to seek care.
- A third party was involved in your accident or injury.
- You receive Social Security disability benefits.
For injured workers and their families, the stakes are often very high. Facing physical pain and financial hardship, workers need help. It is important to seek that help as soon as possible to ensure you are able to obtain the care and compensation that will ensure your success. The decisions of the workers’ compensation commission are legally binding and can affect you and your loved ones for years to come.
At Pothitakis Law Firm, our experienced Iowa workers’ compensation attorneys are here to offer the compassion and representation needed to protect your future. Take a moment to fill out the contact form on this page to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation to learn more about who we are, what we do, and how we may be able to help.