After an injury or illness on the job, many Iowa workers are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. These benefits provide medical care and wage replacement compensation for injured workers and their families to help them avoid unnecessary hardship during the recovery and disability periods. While most workers do qualify for this program, it is still necessary to apply and be approved by the state commission to obtain the benefits. Many injured workers wonder if they need to hire an attorney to help navigate this process. While an attorney is not required by law, many injured workers choose to secure representation. An experienced workers’ compensation lawyer can provide unique and effective tools to help ensure maximum compensation and protection after a work injury.
How an Attorney Can Help With Your Workers’ Compensation Claim
After a work injury, it is natural to have many concerns and worries. Many injured workers fear they cannot afford an attorney or that an attorney may not add value to the claim. This is not the case, however. An experienced Iowa workers’ compensation attorney can provide individualized and effective services that can help an injured secure the maximum amount of compensation possible. A workers’ compensation attorney offers:
- Knowledge of the law and the Iowa workers’ compensation system. Too often, injured or ill workers are denied benefits or are not given full compensation simply because they do not know the full scope of the system. An injured worker may be unaware of all the benefits available in different situations and miss out on vital compensation because of it.
- Forms and filing assistance. Unfortunately, many injured workers have been denied compensation only because they failed to provide the appropriate paperwork at the appropriate time. An experienced legal team can help workers understand the state statutes of limitations, fill out forms, and ensure that deadlines are met to obtain compensation.
- Experience with negotiation. Employers and insurance companies are out to protect their own interests. They will try to save as much money as possible by offering quick—but low—settlements or disputing even valid claims. An experienced attorney knows these tactics and can be a voice for the injured worker.
When You Need an Attorney for Your Iowa Work Injury Claim
For some smaller, straightforward claims, it can be possible to resolve your workers’ compensation claim without legal aid. In many cases, however, the situation is more complicated, and even the Iowa workers’ compensation commission states it is advisable to seek legal counsel. These circumstances include cases that involve:
- Denial of benefits. If you filed a claim that was denied, it can be possible to appeal that decision. The process is more complicated than the initial application, however, and it is often necessary to state your case at a hearing.
- Permanent disability. When your work injury leaves you with a permanent disability, securing work and income in the future can be more difficult. Iowa workers’ compensation does offer specific benefits for these types of injuries, but they are dependent on an independent medical exam and a wide range of other factors.
- Industrial disabilities. Injuries that involve the neck, back, shoulder, or hip are known as industrial disabilities. These injuries are also compensated based on the extent to which the injury affects your ability to work and the results of a medical exam.
- Employer retaliation. Employers are strictly forbidden from retaliating against an employee from filing a workers’ compensation claim. Retaliation can come in many forms, including demotions, pay reduction, verbal attacks, change of duty, and much more.
- Employers without workers’ compensation insurance. Iowa law requires most employers to carry workers’ compensation insurance to cover the costs associated with employee injuries and illness. If you suspect that your employer has not met this mandate, it is important to contact an attorney who can help you learn more about the next steps and how to obtain benefits.
- Third party claims. In some cases, it is possible to bring a legal suit against a third party. These are separate legal claims, and they do require the knowledge and skill of an experienced attorney.
- Workers who receive other government benefits. If you receive Social Security or other government benefits, there can be income and tax consequences to your workers’ compensation claim. It is important to understand how each will affect another before deciding how to move forward with a claim.
Even if your case does not involve one these issues specifically, if you are worried about your claim or unsure of your rights, it is best to contact an experienced attorney. At Pothitakis Law Firm, our legal team offers free, no-obligation consultations to help injured workers better understand their situation and their rights to compensation.
The Cost of Not Hiring a Workers’ Compensation Attorney
In addition to the benefits of hiring an attorney, it is important to consider the costs of not hiring an attorney. The decision of the workers’ compensation commission in the end is final. Though it is not a legal case, the decision is legally binding and cannot be undone. For many injured workers and their families, workers’ compensation benefits provide care and wage replacement vital to their current and future stability. With stakes that high, it is best not to leave anything to chance.
If you or someone you love has suffered an injury at work, call our office, or take a moment to fill out the contact form on this page. You will speak with a member of our team who can answer your questions and get you started protecting your rights.