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Iowa Workers Compensation Lawyer
Have you recently suffered an injury at work? Are you interested in collecting workers compensation benefits? Contact an experienced Iowa workers compensation attorney who can help you secure your compensation as quickly as possible.
When you’ve been injured or fallen ill due to a work incident, you shouldn’t have to worry about whether you’ll be able to continue to pay your mortgage and put food on the table. Workers compensation should give you the peace of mind that you and your family will be protected in case of such an emergency.
Unfortunately, workers comp cases are denied in Iowa every day. A denial is tough on you and your family, and when you’re unfamiliar with work comp laws and suffering a major injury, it only gets worse. Whether you were denied because of a technical error or denied in bad faith, an Iowa workers compensation lawyer can help you gain access to the benefits that are rightfully yours.
Types of Work Accidents and Injuries
When you’ve been injured in a work accident and are considering filing a work comp claim, you may be wondering, “Does my injury count?” Sometimes, it may not be immediately clear that your injury is related to your job, so you may be unsure of whether you can file for it. A lawyer can review your case, however, and make sure that your injuries warrant compensation.
We will also need to know as much as possible about the incident so we can prepare for your case. This can be especially useful when you believe you’re getting a smaller settlement than you deserve. A lawyer can calculate the workers comp you should receive.
Typically, your injuries will happen in one of two ways: sudden, one-time incidents, or long-term, indirect injuries that happen over time. Both types of injuries should qualify for compensation.
Sudden injuries can happen at any time, and they can be particularly painful. These are the injuries we typically think of when we think about on-the-job accidents. Below are some common work accidents and some of the injuries you could suffer as a result:
- Falls – If you work on cell towers, telephone poles, or tall buildings, the danger of a fall is especially high. Falling from a height could cause head trauma, back injuries, and broken bones, among other problems.
- Vehicle Accidents – Some drive for their job, and a crash can be deadly. Whiplash is relatively common, and many people suffer more serious injuries like traumatic brain injuries or internal bleeding.
- Heavy Machinery Malfunctions – If you work on a farm, chances are good that you’ve worked with dangerous heavy machinery. You could get a finger or limb caught in the parts. Many people suffer from lost limbs because of these machines.
What if your injuries weren’t so sudden? Many people suffer injuries or illnesses over time. This can affect the way you work and the positions you can hold. While they may not have happened all at once, these kinds of injuries can affect how you work and whether you’re able to work at all.
For example, many people suffer repetitive motion injuries because of their work. Let’s say you’re a cook, and you spend a large part of every day chopping vegetables and lifting heavy pots. Over time, that regular motion can wear down your shoulder, and you might suffer so much pain that you’re unable to do your job.
Otherwise, you may develop a disease from your work. Those regularly exposed to chemicals may breathe in those substances over time. The effects of this exposure can develop into illnesses. This can leave you struggling to work and cope with your condition.
In any situation where you’re unable to work because of your work-related injuries or illness, you deserve workman’s comp benefits. Recovery is tough, but with the right compensation for your injury, you can get back to your normal life.
To be eligible to collect workers compensation benefits in Iowa, you must meet certain criteria. Primarily, you have to have been injured while on the clock and performing your job responsibilities. If you were off the clock or not performing your job duties, your employer or the workers comp insurer may object to you collecting benefits.
Certain classifications of workers do not qualify for work comp benefits in Iowa. These include firefighters and police officers, who can collect work injury benefits under a pension fund, and exchange laborers in the agricultural industry.
If you’re not sure whether you’re covered, speak with your employer as soon as possible about the benefits you may be eligible for. While most workplaces are required to have information about workers compensation insurance in the workplace, certain employers are exempt from this. Your employer can clarify this issue so you know what to do next.
Your Workers Comp Benefits
Getting the benefits you need takes the stress out of your recovery so you can focus on your health and your family’s comfort. Luckily, Iowa offers a variety of work comp benefits to protect you and your family from financial suffering during this difficult time.
No matter how long or short a time you’re expecting to be unable to work, you deserve the income to maintain your quality of life after an accident. If you’re struggling in the wake of an on-the-job injury in Iowa, these benefits can help you get back to work or get by while you’re disabled.
The amount of weekly compensation you will receive will depend on the type of disability you will be collecting. For instance, an employee whose injury lasts more than three days can claim temporary total disability and will receive around 80 percent of his or her weekly income until he or she is medically able to work again.
On the other hand, an employee who is in recovery but able to perform other job duties—a status known as temporary partial disability—will usually collect 67 percent of the earnings difference between what he or she previously made each week and is able to make now until returning to his or her pre-injury position.
If you’ll be unable to work again, you should still receive about 80 percent of your weekly wages, anyway. For instance, if you suffered a traumatic brain injury and you’ll never be able to work again, your employer’s work comp insurer will still be responsible for your wages for as long as you’re disabled.
In addition to the supplementation of your income while you are unable to work, your Iowa workman’s comp benefits should cover the total costs of your medical expenses associated with your injuries. This can include your hospital bills, prescription medications, and copays needed for doctor visits, among other healthcare expenses.
Any reasonable expenses that were caused by your accident, even if they’re not directly related to helping your injury, may be included. Transportation for hospital visits, for example, should be included, and some debilitating injuries may require special accommodations or services in your household. These, too, are part of the care for your injury, and you should be compensated for them.
Unfortunately, you may be looking for information about Iowa workers comp because you lost a loved one to a workplace accident. This is a traumatic event to suffer through, but there is help available to address the financial strain that accompanies the loss of a family member.
Death benefits can pay for some or all the burial expenses, based on Iowa’s average annual wage, which a lawyer can help you calculate. Additionally, spouses may be eligible for lost income benefits until remarriage, and children are eligible until the age of eighteen.
Appealing an Iowa Workers Comp Denial
If your initial claim has been denied, your denial letter should state the reason why. This is the moment when you may want to consult with an Iowa attorney who specializes in work comp claims. A qualified lawyer can make sure you have a full understanding of why you have been denied and what you will have to do to gain the insurer’s approval. The stated reason for your denial may include the following:
- Lack of medical evidence
- Disputes on location of injury
- Employer complains your condition was pre-existing
- Statute of limitations has passed
Simply providing additional documentation and supporting evidence from your physician may be enough to be approved in some cases, but if you were denied because the insurer claims your injury is excluded or that it was a pre-existing condition that was undisclosed and caused your injury or illness, we may need to file an appeal.
We may also begin the appeals processes if you were wrongfully denied benefits. A bad faith action by an insurance adjuster could mean the insurer didn’t take the time to properly investigate your case, or it could mean the insurer is knowingly being deceitful in its denial in an effort to protect the company’s profit margins.
Whatever the case may be, the assistance of a lawyer who has the experience and knowledge necessary to win an Iowa workman’s compensation appeal can make a huge difference in the outcome of your claim and, ultimately, your life.
Concerns Regarding Retaliation
Iowa employers who retaliate against employees who have had to file for work comp benefits are breaking the law. Some work injury victims may be concerned that, because Iowa is an “at-will” state for employment, they can be fired for any reason at any time and are therefore subject to retaliation for filing a workers comp claim.
However, Iowa law also protects employees who have a right to collect workers comp benefits if they are injured at work. Therefore, firing or otherwise retaliating against you for filing a workers comp claim is illegal. While an employer may attempt this to avoid paying higher insurance premiums, an attorney can fight to make sure your rights are protected.
If you believe your employer has fired you or retaliated because of your claim, an Iowa workers comp lawyer can help. If we are able to prove in court that your workers compensation claim was the determining factor in your employer’s decision to terminate or punish you, we can not only recover the benefits you deserve, but potentially gain access to other damages that will increase your total award.
Iowa Workers Compensation FAQ
Workers comp law is not simple. The relevant statutes are often murky, and victims often struggle to identify a solid path forward. We’re here to help.
Below, we have listed some of the most common questions we receive from clients, along with the answers to those questions. For all the answers you’re looking for, get in touch with an Iowa work comp attorney at our firm.
Can I work a second job while receiving workers comp?
Generally speaking, you will not be able to work a second job while receiving workers compensation benefits in Iowa. Workers comp is designed to cover your loss of income and medical bills while you are unable to work, and your ability to work a second job would suggest that you have the ability to work and therefore do not require workers comp benefits.
Is work-related stress a covered condition in Iowa?
It can be. It will depend on the seriousness of your condition and our ability to prove that the stress has temporarily rendered you unable to work while you undergo treatment.
Can I receive my benefits in one lump sum?
You may be able to receive full commutation of your benefits if we are able to prove your need for a lump sum. However, by collecting your benefits as a lump sum, you will forfeit any rights to future benefits should your condition worsen.
Why was my work comp claim denied?
Your denial letter should state the reason your claim was denied. Most frequently, Iowa workplace injury victims will only be denied workers compensation benefits under a couple of conditions.
The following are some common reasons for work comp denials: You failed to provide appropriate documentation of your injury, your injury or illness was an undisclosed, pre-existing condition, you were injured while breaking the law or violating a company policy, or you failed to inform your employer of your injury within ninety days of the injury occurring.
Can I still collect workers comp if I was responsible for the accident?
Yes. Workers compensation is available to any eligible employee who has been injured while performing work duties on the clock. Fault in workers comp claims is largely irrelevant.
Speak with an Iowa Workers Comp Lawyer
If you’ve been injured at work and need help obtaining the workers comp benefits you’re entitled to, contact a lawyer at Pothitakis Law Firm, PC who can secure the funds you need to recover without financial worry.
Our attorneys can walk you through your next steps if your claim has been denied. Getting your denial overturned can make an enormous difference in your quality of life, but filing a successful appeal can be difficult without proper representation.
You can talk to us for free. We offer free consultations so you know what an Iowa workers compensation lawyer can do for you before you ever sign anything or pay a single fee. To schedule your free, no-obligation claim evaluation, call 1-866-PLF-IOWA (753-4692) or fill out the form below.