How to Handle an Iowa Workers Comp Dispute

How to Handle an Iowa Workers Comp Dispute

After an on-the-job injury, you could be looking at months or even years of recovery. These injuries might keep you away from work, leaving you without the compensation you need. Fortunately, your workers compensation should cover your losses and help you recover.

Sadly, not every injured worker gets the compensation they need right away. Your employer or insurance provider might dispute information regarding your injury. You’ll need to know how to handle an Iowa workers comp dispute to obtain your benefits soon. There are a few steps you can take to appeal your claim.

Informal Meetings

Once you’ve filed your claim, you should receive a letter approving or denying your claim. A denial is unfortunate, but it’s not the end of your chances for work comp benefits. Hang onto your denial letter, as it will provide the reason for denying your benefits, and this can help you during the appeals process.

First, discuss your work comp situation with your employer and the insurance provider. In some cases, you might be able to negotiate a settlement with them before taking your case further.

Be sure to review your denial reason before scheduling a meeting with your employer. You’ll need to know what factors led to your denial, which can range from a missed deadline to a lack of medical evidence. This gives you a chance to review your claim and gather additional evidence.

Unfortunately, your employer and the insurance provider might not budge on their decision. In this case, you’ll need to appeal your claim to the Iowa Workers Compensation Commission.

Your Workers Comp Hearing

When your employer or insurance provider continues to deny you the compensation you deserve, you and your attorney will need to schedule a hearing with the Iowa Workers Compensation Commissioner, which will oversee your appeal.

Here, you’ll need to bring all of the evidence needed for your appeal. For example, you might bring eyewitness reports that your accident happened while working; or you might need further medical exam results to show the severity of your injuries and the impact they have had on your life.

You and your lawyer will appeal the denial at the hearing. Your lawyer will present the evidence before the commissioner and your employer. Once this is completed, the commissioner will either approve the appeal or deny your workers comp benefits for a second time.

Get Legal Help with an Appeal

When you’re injured, your workers comp benefits should help you recover as soon as possible. Unfortunately, the insurance company might not be so willing to approve your claim, leaving you stuck with mounting bills and lost wages.

When this happens, you’ll need to know how to handle an Iowa workers comp dispute to get your claim appealed. The lawyers at Pothitakis Law Firm, PC can help. They’ll review your claim, prepare your appeal, and represent you before the Iowa Workers Compensation Commission.

Struggling with a denial that left you without compensation? Get on track with one of our free consultations. Claim yours by calling 319-754-6400 or by filling out the online form below.

Essential Elements of Successful Workers Comp Claims

Essential Elements of Successful Workers Comp Claims

When you’re preparing to file a workers comp claim, the ultimate goal is to get your claim approved. There are certain Iowa workers compensation laws that you’ll need to be aware of before you file.

Knowing these laws can help you ensure that your claim is completed fully, accurately, within all legal time limits, and without error so that the likelihood of your claim being approved is exponentially increased.

File Before the Statute of Limitations Runs Out

It is of utmost importance that your claim be filed within the statute of limitations. There are a couple of time limits you’ll need to be aware of in regards to your claim. First, you need to notify your employer within ninety days of being diagnosed with a work-related injury or illness, or within ninety days of the work accident you were involved in.

If your claim has been denied immediately after filing, you’ll have have to file your application for arbitration within two years from the date of your diagnosis or incident. Additionally, if you’ve already been receiving workers comp benefits and your benefits were suddenly stopped or reduced, you’ll have three years from the last day you received benefits to file an appeal.

If you fail to meet these statute of limitations requirements, unfortunately, you will be barred from pursuing further action, whether that be an appeal, arbitration, or additional benefits.

Qualifications for Workers Comp Approval

Knowing whether or not you actually qualify for workers compensation benefits can save you a lot of time if you know your claim won’t be approved. Generally speaking, to be eligible for workers comp benefits, you’ll need to establish that your injuries or illness were directly caused by the conditions of your work environment.

While almost every employer in Iowa is required to provide their employees with workers comp coverage on their insurance policies, there are a few exceptions to the rule. Exchange laborers who work in agriculture, police officers, and firefighters are not eligible for workers comp benefits, as they’re able to obtain work injury benefits from other sources, such as a pension fund.

Even if your injuries occurred at work, you should expect your claim to be denied if you were committing a crime, working off the clock, or in violation of your employer’s code of conduct at the time of your injuries.

Proving Your Condition Is Work-Related

The most important element to your workers comp claim is proving that your condition arose from your obligations at work. You will work closely with your Iowa workers comp attorney to gather evidence that can support your case, including medical documentation, witness testimony, photographic evidence, and/or video footage, where applicable.

Anything that can help the insurance company ascertain that your injuries or illness were work-related can help your claim be approved as soon as possible.

Consult with an Experienced Iowa Workers Comp Lawyer

If you need help preparing your workers comp claim, or if you have questions regarding workers compensation laws in Iowa, consult with a qualified workers comp lawyer at Pothitakis Law Firm, PC. You can schedule your free case review today by filling out the quick contact form below or by giving our office a call at 1-866-PLF-IOWA (753-4692).

Employee or Independent Contractor: What It Means for Your Work Comp Claim

Employee or Independent Contractor: What It Means for Your Work Comp Claim

Independent contract work is a popular choice for those who enjoy the freedom of working with various clients instead of a single employer. In some cases, you might have even settled into a position with a specific client for some time. Unfortunately, something went wrong on the job, and now you’re hurt.

The classification of workers as employees or independent contractors is important because it can affect your eligibility for Iowa workers compensation benefits. But you might have a chance to seek compensation for your injuries and get the work comp benefits you need if your employer has improperly classified you as an independent contractor.

The bottom line is this: If you’ve been injured on the job, you deserve work comp benefits to help you recover. A qualified lawyer can help you understand whether you’re eligible.

Differences Between Employees and Independent Contractors

It can be tough to determine who exactly is a full employee and who is an independent contractor. When you’re injured, however, that distinction can determine whether you get the benefits you need.  

A true independent contractor is someone who:

  • Is not an employee
  • Has control over the work done
  • Can be discharged at will and without cause

In some cases, while you may be listed as an independent contractor, the work you do for the company may differ from independent work. Examine the type of work and amount of control you have over that work to determine whether you’re a full employee or should be considered one.  

Improper Classification and Your Work Comp Claim

Independent workers generally don’t have a right to workers compensation in Iowa. But if you’ve been misclassified by your employer, you deserve compensation for an on-the-job injury.

If you’ve been classified as an independent contractor, but the work you’ve done is the work that an employee would do, the legal implications are serious. Improper employee classification can even lead to criminal charges for employers.

If you’re not sure whether you should be classified as an employee or independent contractor, you may need to speak to an attorney who can investigate your role in the company.

Because you’ll be unable to file for work comp benefits unless you’re an employee, it’s important to make sure you’ve been properly classified.  

An Attorney Can Help with Your Workers Comp Case

Fortunately, you’re not alone in your fight for workers comp benefits. A denial of a workers compensation claim is serious, but what does it mean for your workers comp claim if your employer improperly classified you? An attorney can help you fight back against such misconduct and even advocate for your right to workers comp benefits.

Contact the Pothitakis Law Firm, PC. We can investigate your situation and help you fight back when you know you deserve work comp benefits. For help that starts with a free consultation and ends when you have the compensation you deserve, call 1-866-PLF-IOWA (753-4692) or complete the online contact form at the bottom of this page.

Health Conditions You Wouldn’t Expect Workers Comp to Cover

Health Conditions You Wouldn’t Expect Workers Comp to Cover

When we think about workers compensation, we think catastrophic injuries, tragic machinery-related accidents, and other dire situations. But not every work injury is so extreme. You might have gotten injured in a different way, and you may be unsure of whether you’re covered under work comp.

Fortunately for many workers, Iowa legislation on workers compensation is broad in terms of what is considered an injury. You may find that health conditions you wouldn’t expect workers comp to cover are included.

If you’re not sure your injury is covered by work comp benefits, you may be surprised that the following injuries are all covered. A lawyer can help you determine whether you’re covered and fight for the workman’s comp benefits you deserve.  

Stress-Related Injuries

While many of us downplay the risks and pains that physical stress can cause, it can weigh on you both physically and mentally. Constant use or motion can damage your body, causing conditions like the following:

These conditions worsen over time. Often, there’s not a sudden action that causes the injury. This can make it difficult to determine whether your injury happened on the job. With help from your doctor and attorney, however, you can get the evidence you need to show that your injury does relate to your position—meaning you’re eligible for workers comp benefits.

Mental Health Problems

In some cases, you might have already been at risk for depression or anxiety. In others, you might have experienced something traumatic on the job and, while you’re physically uninjured or have healed, developed post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or a similar mental health condition.

Any of these conditions could be caused by your work, and any of them could make it difficult to work your usual hours or at all. While there may be few or no physical signs of trauma, your work conditions might have been severe enough to cause these issues.

While your employer and the workers comp insurer may resist mental health-related work comp claims, a lawyer can help prove that your job is stressful enough to cause such a serious condition and that you deserve benefits.  

Aggravation of Pre-Existing Injuries

An injury caused by a pre-existing condition usually isn’t grounds for workers comp. If you had a heart attack, for example, and you had a history of heart problems in your family, it’s likely that your heart attack was not work-related.

However, you should receive workers compensation for any aggravation of a health condition caused by your job. So, let’s say you already had issues with your blood pressure, but your job caused further strain on your heart, leading to your heart attack. In this case, you deserve work comp benefits. It won’t be easy to prove, but a lawyer can help you succeed.

Getting the Work Comp Benefits You Deserve

When you’re hurt or sick, it’s normal to wonder whether your condition will be covered at all by workers compensation. While your condition might not be a direct effect of your work, it may be aggravated or indirectly affected by your job, and you should be compensated for that.

Having trouble getting compensation for your workplace injury or illness? There are many health conditions you wouldn’t expect workers comp to cover, and yours may be one of them. But it’s not always easy to get your claim approved. If you’re having trouble with your claim, call a lawyer at Pothitakis Law Firm, PC at 1-866-PLF-IOWA (753-4692) or fill out the form below.