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Des Moines Workers Comp Lawyer
Don’t let a workers compensation denial stop you in your tracks. Get the process moving again by getting in touch with a Des Moines workers comp attorney today.
One moment, you’re doing your job like on any other day. The next, you’re injured and on your way to the hospital. Accidents are often sudden, painful events, and they can put you under a lot of pressure—financial and otherwise. You’re likely already wondering how you’ll pay for the medical expenses and how you’ll go about supporting your family while you’re unable to work.
When stress and expenses are mounting quickly, you might need a Des Moines workers comp lawyer to see you through this situation. Dealing with a work accident is rarely easy and never without stress, but our firm is dedicated to making the process as simple for you and your loved ones as possible.
If you have a work injury but are unsure how to secure the workers compensation benefits you’re entitled to under Iowa law, don’t hesitate to call us. At Pothitakis Law Firm, PC, we know what it takes to handle these types of cases, and we’re ready to fight for the compensation you need to recover.
Your Eligibility for Work Comp in Des Moines
First, you might be worried about whether you’re eligible for workers comp at all. After all, your employer may not provide you with much information about the rights you have as an injured employee.
Luckily, almost all employees working in Iowa are covered, as required by state law, if they are injured at work. It’s important to note that, unless you are exempt or not covered, your employer is required to offer you workers comp and the premiums associated with it. Failure to do so is a crime in Iowa.
The clear majority of injured Des Moines workers are covered through their employers. There are few exceptions to this, and most exceptions fall under the following categories:
- Domestic or agricultural workers earning below a certain threshold
- Police officers and firefighters covered by other plans
- Leaders of family farm corporations, including their spouses
- Employees who are covered by other systems
The chance that you are not covered for your work-related injury is slim. If you’re not certain, however, speak to your employer as soon as possible about your accident and your options for moving forward with your recovery.
You Have a Right to Workers Comp Benefits
Unless you are not covered or you’ve been exempted from coverage, you have the right to certain benefits for your injuries. This compensation should be as comprehensive as possible. After all, you and your family need these benefits to maintain your quality of life.
Without these benefits, you’re not the only one to suffer. Your family might be counting on you for the income they need to survive. If you live in a single-income household, a work injury could put you in unnecessary financial straits and increasing accident-related debt that you shouldn’t have to cover.
Fortunately, your benefits should cover the majority of what you need for your injuries, and they usually fall into one of three categories: medical expenses, disability benefits, and death benefits. Your workers comp lawyer in Des Moines can help you understand each benefit, but we’ve outlined some basic information below.
When you’ve been injured at work, you likely have expensive hospital bills keeping you from focusing on what’s important: getting well. In the case of a severe injury, you could have serious future expenses, such as surgeries and physical or occupational therapy. You likely need help paying for your care, which can easily become overwhelming.
The coverage of your medical expenses is part of your Des Moines workers comp benefits. This should cover every related medical expense when you’re injured—from your hospital stay to any equipment you’ll need, such as crutches or wheelchairs.
It’s unfortunate, but you might not be able to return to work for some time after your accident. In some especially severe accidents, you may be unable to return at all. When your family relies on your income to stay afloat, that can be a devastating blow.
Fortunately, you will have several options for coverage after your accident. Whether you’ll need to be off work for a short period of time or you’ll be completely unable to return to work, a large portion of your lost wages should be covered. These total disability benefits cover 80 percent of your income, which gives you and your family the security you need to focus on recovery.
Likewise, if you’re able to return to work in some capacity, you could receive partial disability, which should provide the diminished part of your earnings while you’re unable to work. In all, whether you need short-term or long-term coverage, partial or total disability, your coverage can replace up to 80 percent of your previous earnings.
Sadly, a loved one might have passed away because of a Des Moines work accident, and this has likely left you struggling with grief and the stress of a major loss of family income.
If you lost a loved one in a work accident, reach out for the benefits you deserve. If they had workers comp benefits, you should also receive 80 percent of their earnings to help you recover. You can also seek compensation for your burial expenses, which must be a reasonable amount, totaling no more than 12 times the state average weekly wage.
Although workers compensation benefits won’t ease your grief, they should at least ease the financial stress. This coverage is eligible to continue for life or until remarriage for the spouse. For children, it will last until they turn eighteen, or for life, if they have a disability that requires additional and continuous care.
Filing for Your Benefits
When you’re injured in a work accident, you’re likely dealing with pain, confusion, and fear of the future. You need compensation to cover your medical and living expenses while you’re unable to work. You might be unsure how to file for your work comp benefits. Continue reading to learn more about the filing process.
First, you’ll need to report the injury as soon as possible. Not only will this report prevent your employer from saying your accident didn’t happen at work, but it will also expedite the benefits process. For Iowa workers, that means filing your claim within 90 days of your injury. That gives you some time to file if you’re physically unable to file, while still keeping the process relatively quick.
Once you’ve reported your injury and let your employer know you’re seeking workers comp benefits, your employer must take the next steps in the process. They’ll send the first report of injury to their workers comp insurance provider.
From there, the insurer will investigate your claim to prove the injury happened at work, the severity of the injury, and how much compensation you deserve for those injuries.
After this investigation, you’ll receive a letter about your workers comp claim. If they approved your benefits, you’ll receive an approval letter with information about your settlement. If you’re denied, however, you’ll receive a denial letter, which will give the reasons for your denial. At this point, an attorney can then begin the appeals process.
Your Des Moines Work Comp Claim May Be Denied
As much as these benefits can protect you and your loved ones from undue stress and frustration, your Des Moines work comp claim may not be immediately approved. Many claims will be denied after the initial filing, adding even more stress to your situation.
Having an attorney on your side can help; we’ll be able to help you understand the reasoning behind your denial. Work comp denial letters must list a reason—typically either a lack of evidence or a dispute from the involved parties, such as your employer or the workers comp insurance company. When you know the reason for your denial, you’re one step closer to securing your benefits, so don’t lose hope.
If you’ve been denied for a lack of evidence that you need benefits, for example, you and your workers comp attorney in Des Moines will know to be prepared with the missing evidence. This can include further medical exams, any photographs of the evidence or scene, or witnesses to the accident and to your diminished abilities.
Disputing a Denial
The first step after a work comp denial is the schedule an informal meeting with your employer. This meeting gives you a chance to bring additional evidence, showing them that you should receive compensation for your suffering. Fortunately, many disputes are cleared by simply meeting with your employer and their insurer to discuss the incident and talk through any disputes.
Some disputes, however, may require a hearing with all of the involved parties. If you wish to appeal your denial, you’ll need to fight to get the coverage you need. When the insurance company refuses to work with you, you’ll need to schedule a hearing before the Iowa Workers’ Compensation Commissioner.
This hearing will be more formal. Instead of simply discussing your case and the new evidence you obtained, you’ll present your evidence to the commissioner with the help of your attorney. They’ll review evidence from both sides and then make a decision about your case. Make sure, however, that you act quickly. You’ll only have two years to file an appeal after your initial denial.
You always have the option to seek legal help if you need to file an appeal. The right workers compensation lawyer will know these types of cases well and understand exactly what you need to do to get the benefits you’re owed.
Reach Out to a Des Moines Workers Comp Attorney
A work accident is never an easy experience, but with the right team on your side, you don’t have to suffer without compensation. Although your on-the-job injuries may be serious, you might need to find the strength to fight for the workers comp benefits you deserve. A qualified lawyer can give you that strength.
When your claim is denied, getting an experienced attorney on your side can simplify the appeals process and get you on the right path. At Pothitakis Law Firm, PC, we’re committed to getting you the help you need, and we’ll fight for you through every obstacle.
Schedule a free, no-pressure consultation to ask us any questions you have. You don’t have to commit to anything until you know we’re the right firm for you. A consultation will give you the chance to see exactly what you need to do to get your benefits—and how we can help you through.
Interested in speaking with a Des Moines workers comp lawyer? Give us a call at 319-754-6400 or complete the online contact form below to schedule your appointment.