7 Things An Employee Needs To Know When Injured At Work

If you have been injured at work, your remedy is a workers' compensation claim. To ensure that you receive the workers' compensation benefits you need to cover your medical bills and lost wages, you should review the following list of workers' compensation things to know.

Even if you follow all these tips, you may still end up having your claim denied or your employer may dispute your workers' compensation claim. In that case, you will need to know how to prepare for a workers' compensation hearing.

Workers' Compensation Things to Know

1. Do Not Fail to Notify Your Employer

Under the Iowa workers'compensation laws, the employee needs to provide notice to the employer within 90 days of the date of his or her injury. If the employee fails to meet that deadline, the employee may lose his or her right to pursue the Iowa Workers' Comp claim. This is the first on the list because it may be one of the most important things to know about workers' compensation. There are occasions when that deadline can be extended, but it’s better to be vigilant in providing notice as soon as the injury.

2. Seek Medical Care as Soon as Possible

In addition to reporting their injury, the employee needs to seek medical care. On many occasions, employees think that they will simply get better and will try to hold off and wait as long as possible before seeking care. The individual is in a much better position in terms of his or her claim if medical care is sought early on, even if a doctor simply documents the condition and, in his or her opinion, believes the employee should wait for further care.

3. Don’t Miss Your Doctor’s Appointments

When an employee is scheduled for a doctor’s appointment or a physical therapy appointment, it’s imperative that he or she attends those appointments. Failure to attend these appointments can give the doctor the impression that the injury is not serious or significant or has been resolved. Further, under the Iowa's workers' compensation laws, failure to attend doctor’s appointments could result in the cessation of benefits. 

4. Make Sure Bills Are Paid by the Insurance Carrier as Opposed to Health Insurance

Other things to know about workers' compensation is that when an injured employee receives medical care from his or her physician, it’s important that their bills are turned into the Insurance Carrier (Iowa Code Section 85.27). On some occasions, healthcare providers may be confused or simply prefer to submit the charges to an employee’s health insurance carrier. The problem with this is that the employee may end up paying deductibles or co-pays for care that should have been paid 100% by the Iowa Workers' Compensation insurance carrier.

5. Do Not Assume That the Insurance Company’s Benefit Calculations Are Correct

The insurance company is obligated to provide the employee benefits while he or she is off of work. Further, they are obligated to provide the employee benefits if he or she has a permanent injury. All benefit payments are all based upon the employee’s average weekly wage.

Insurance carriers are notorious for calculating the average weekly wage in a manner that benefits them and results in a reduced wage. By including short weeks, vacation weeks, or weeks in which the employee is sick, the insurance carrier can lower the rate at which they pay all Iowa Workers' Compensation benefits. For these reasons, it’s important for the employee to look deep into how the average weekly wage was computed and whether it is accurate. It has a significant impact on both the weekly checks received while the employee is off of work, and the permanency benefits that the employee would receive if he or she has a permanent injury.

6. Always Get a Second Opinion

Under the Iowa Workers' Compensation laws, if the physician chosen by the Workers' Compensation insurance carrier or employer sets forth an opinion concerning the employee’s impairment rating and the rating is not believed to be accurate, the employee is entitled to a second opinion under Iowa Code Section 85.39. The Workers' Compensation insurance carrier is responsible for the expense of the second opinion exam. A second opinion is helpful as it may help the employee in terms of what care is most beneficial to them and also may affect the amount they are entitled to under the Iowa Workers' Compensation laws.

7. Do Not Assume that the Insurance Carrier is on Your Side

It is important to note that the insurance carrier’s primary goal is to reduce the costs that are incurred as a result of the employee’s injury. This may be one of the more important workers' compensation things to know. The insurance company is not there to try to provide the employee as many benefits as possible or to maximize the employee’s recovery. Quite the contrary, they are attempting to minimize the costs associated with the medical care, time off work, as well as permanency benefits. For this reason, it is important that the employee is aware of this fact and to check and double-check the information that he or she is being provided concerning the claim. An experienced Iowa workers' compensation attorney can provide extensive guidance to make sure the maximum amount of benefits are paid.

Bonus! 8. Know More about Iowa Worker’s Compensation Laws

If you are confused about Iowa's Workers' Compensation Act, you are not alone. Many people are unfortunately injured while on the job each year. Some are injured in work-related car accidents, and others have burns, slip-and-fall injuries and more. These injuries may keep you away from work for weeks or months while you recover, or they may affect your ability to come back to work ever again. This can have a major impact on your income, and these events can also cause medical expenses to mount. Workers compensation provides you with financial compensation after a work-related incident, but many people have questions about if they qualify for it and how they can file a claim.

The Pothitakis Law Firm is the company to call when you have questions about compensation. Their workers' compensation attorneys can help you understand the workers' compensation things to know. After an accident at work, you may be focused on healing, but you should also take the time to learn more about how worker’s compensation may help you. The fact is that not every employee in Iowa qualifies for worker’s comp, but most do. Some workers may even be told by their employer that they don’t qualify for it, and this is sometimes not accurate information. The best way to determine if you qualify for workers' comp is to contact the Pothitakis Law Firm. Niko Pothitakis and his legal team serve clients in Davenport, Bettendorf, Iowa City, Ottumwa and Fairfield, and they can help you to explore your legal rights for compensation.