Workers’ compensation benefits in Iowa can provide injured employees with medical care and wage replacement compensation. These benefits are available regardless of fault to help ensure that the employee can receive proper medical treatment for as full and expedient a recovery as possible. Additionally, wage replacement benefits help relieve some of the financial pressure the worker and his family may experience when he is forced to miss work. Some employees may wonder, however, where these benefits come from. Who pays these benefits to an injured worker?
Types of Benefits Available Under Iowa Workers’ Compensation
Like other state workers’ compensation systems around the country, the Iowa workers’ compensation system offers injured workers a variety of benefits to address many different types of injuries and circumstances. These include:
- Temporary total disability – Injuries result in more than three days of forced missed work.
- Temporary partial disability – During recovery from an injury, an employee can return to work at a lesser paying position.
- Permanent partial disability – Worker experiences a permanent impairment but can still work in some capacity.
- Permanent total disability – Permanent injuries prevent an employee from ever returning to work.
- Healing period – The time in which a worker is recovering and unable to return to work.
- Death – Benefits provided for surviving family members of workers who die as a result of work-related injury or illness.
Each type of benefit offers medical care and wage replacement, with the wage benefits typically providing up to 80 percent of the employee’s spendable weekly wage.
Privately Insured and Self-Insured Iowa Employers
Employee injuries can be expensive, and state law prevents employers from forcing employees to pay for any part of the company’s workers’ compensation costs. Therefore, employers are required to either purchase workers’ compensation insurance from a private insurance company or self-insure.
If the employer elects to purchase insurance coverage from a private company, that company would be responsible for paying the costs related to an employee’s illness or injury. Self-insured companies must follow specific rules to qualify. Approved self-insured employers would cover injury-related costs themselves, and injured employees would work directly with their employer to arrange the benefits. Iowa law requires self-insured employers and insurance companies to pay all “reasonable and necessary medical expenses,” as well as the wage replacement benefits as set by the state commission.
Obtaining Compensation After an Iowa Work Injury
Regardless of which route your employer takes, if you are injured at work, they have a duty to provide medical and wage replacement benefits. Despite this responsibility, it is common for employers and their insurance companies to attempt to minimize their financial loss. They often will look for any excuse to reduce or eliminate the benefits. It is vital that injured workers take all the necessary steps to protect their rights after an injury or illness. An experienced workers’ compensation attorney can help injured employees fully understand their rights, prepare and file all necessary documents, negotiate with providers, and state your case if necessary to ensure that workers are able to obtain the maximum amount of compensation they deserve.
When an Iowa Employer Fails to Provide Workers’ Comp Benefits
With limited exceptions, Iowa employers are required by law to provide these workers’ compensation benefits. Failing to provide rightful benefits either on their own or through a private insurance company is illegal. Employers could be held liable for the benefits or open themselves up for monetary damages in a lawsuit.
Additionally, if an employer knowingly fails to secure private insurance or take the necessary steps to self-insure at all, they could face significant penalties from the state of Iowa. They may be charged with a felony, and business operations could be halted.
If an employee is concerned that an employer is unfairly denying his benefits or that his employer has not obtained the proper workers’ compensation coverage, it is important to take action.
At Pothitakis Law Firm, experienced attorney Niko Pothitakis and his team work hard to help injured workers obtain the care and compensation they deserve. Call our office or take a moment to fill out the contact form on this page to learn more about the services we provide and find out how we may be able to help.