IOWA WORKERS’ COMPENSATIONS FAQs

The details of workers’ compensation cases are critical, and our lawyers are always available for no cost and no obligation discussions.  However, in this post I am going to try to answer the most common questions that we receive.

  1. WORK COMP BENEFITS

What are the work comp benefits I am entitled to receive?  There are three main areas of benefits:

  1. You are entitled to receive medical treatments.
  2. You are entitled to receive healing period benefits while you are unable to work.
  3. You are also entitled to be paid permanent disability benefits for your injuries.

Can I receive workers’ compensation benefits if I had a previous health problem that was aggravated by my current job?  Yes you can.  A material and permanent aggravation of a preexisting condition is considered a workers’ compensation injury in Iowa.

Should I accept a lump sum settlement?  Accepting a lump sum settlement is very dangerous.  Under Iowa law you are probably giving up your right to future medical benefits and your right to receive additional benefits if your condition worsens.  You should always consult with a lawyer before settling a claim.

Do I have to sue my employer to collect workers’ compensation?  In our experience you will not receive fair compensation unless you file a Workers’ Compensation Petition.  Once you filed a Workers’ Compensation Petition that will allow you to take your case to trial.  We find that while trials are necessary in many cases, the filing of the Petition and the risk of trial to the defense does motivate the insurance company to make many fair settlements.

How can I pay a lawyer to help me with my workers’ compensation case?  We provide no cost initial consultation to injured workers.  We represent clients on a contingent fees basis in which we are paid a one-third percentage of the money we can obtain for the injured worker.   We advance all of the costs and expenses of the litigation.  In addition to our one-third attorney fee, we also get reimbursed for these litigation expenses.

What can I do if my work comp claim has been denied?  In this situation you need to hire a lawyer to bring a case on your behalf.

I contributed towards my health insurance with payroll deductions.  Now I have been hurt and my employer is telling me that I have to continue to make payments contributing towards the health insurance or I am going to lose my health insurance.  Is this legal?  Unfortunately, the employer is entitled to take this position under Iowa law.

What happens while I am recovering if the doctor gives me restrictions that prevent me from doing my regular job?  In this situation the employer has two options.  The first is they can provide you light duty work consistent with your restrictions.  If the light duty work does not pay as much as your regular wages, then the work comp insurance company will have to pay you what is called temporary partial disability benefits to make up the difference.  The employer’s second option is to keep you off work.  If the employer chooses this option then the work comp insurance company will have to pay you healing period benefits.

Are workers’ compensation benefits taxable?  Work comp benefits are tax free.

  1. RELATED CLAIMS

I was injured in a car accident while on the job.  I am receiving workers’ compensation benefits.  Can I sue the other driver in a civil action?  You can sue the other driver in a civil case.  However, you will have to reimburse the workers’ compensation carrier for all medical bills they have paid and any workers’ compensation benefits they have paid to you out of any recovery from your civil claim.

I was hurt on the job and I think my employer’s carelessness was the cause of my injury.  Can I sue my employer for more than workers’ compensation benefits?  No.  Under Iowa law an injured worker’s exclusive remedy against the employer is workers’ compensation benefits.  You cannot bring a civil suit against your employer for your work injuries.

  1. WORK COMP COVERAGE

Can I bring a workers’ compensation claim even though my injury was my own fault?  Yes you can.  Iowa workers’ compensation benefits do not require that you be blameless for your injury.  Iowa law only requires that you be hurt on the job.

What injuries and illnesses are covered under Iowa workers’ compensation law?  Any and all injuries and illnesses that arise out of and in the course of your employment are covered.

I was hurt on the job and I found out my employer does not have workers’ compensation insurance.  What can I do?

You have two options.  The first is to sue your employer in civil court.  The second is to file a Workers’ Compensation Petition.  The problem with both of these options is that if your employer doesn’t have a lot of money it will be very difficult to collect your damages.

  1. MEDICAL CARE

Can the insurance company tell me which doctor I have to go to for my work injury or can I go to my own doctor?

Under Iowa law the employer insurance carrier does get to pick the medical care.  If you are unhappy with the medical care there is a procedure to try to have the medical care providers switched.

  1. EFFECT OF THE WORK INJURY ON YOUR JOB

My employer fired me for bringing a workers’ compensation claim.  Can my employer do this?  Under Iowa law it is illegal for an employer to terminate a worker for exercising workers’ compensation rights.  The terminated employee can bring a claim for wrongful discharge in this situation.