We have redesigned our website so that it is now mobile device friendly. If you look at the website on a computer or tablet it looks very similar to the previous version.

The big change is when you view the website on a cell phone. Everything on the website can now be easily read on a phone. Therefore, if you ever have a little time to kill, you can read all about Iowa workers’ compensation and personal injury law on your smart phone.

The new version of the website also allows people viewing us on their phone to call us by just hitting the portion of the screen which reads, “TAP HERE TO CALL US.”

Our law firm accepts work injury case referrals from lawyers who do not regularly handle Iowa worker’s compensation claims. In the referral cases the clients pay the same one third contingent fee that we use in non-referral cases.

We have added a new section to our website that discusses how the referral of work comp claims work. You can see the new section here.

A large part of my practice involves back and neck claims. Injuries to the back or neck frequently have a serious negative impact on a worker’s ability to continue to do their job.

We have added a new section to our website that discusses many issues that come up in litigation involving back or neck claims, including:

1. Types of back and neck injuries.

Under Iowa law a worker who is injured on the job is entitled to receive lifetime medical care for the work injury. The Iowa work comp system has an alternate medical care procedure to deal with many of the disputes that can develop over the medical care benefits.

Iowa workers’ comp law also allows both the insurance company and the injured worker the opportunity to obtain medical examinations to address disputes over causation and the severity of an injury.

We have added a new section to our website that explains all of these medical care issues. You can find this new section here.

Today I am going to talk about the case of Plumrose USA and Zurich Ins. Co. v. Robert Hathaway which was issued by the Iowa Court of Appeals on January 23, 2014.

One of the big issues in the case was whether Mr. Hathaway was entitled to workers’ compensation benefits for a serious right knee injury in light of his long history of pre-existing knee problems.

The Court of Appeals summarized the Iowa work comp law on aggravation of pre-existing condition as follows:

The human shoulder has a tremendous range of motion that allows us to perform a wide variety of activities. However, the shoulder is a very complex joint that can be hurt on the job from a wide variety of causes. Shoulder injuries are classified as unscheduled injuries and are therefore compensated based on the effect of the injury on a worker’s loss of future potential earning capacity.

We have added a new section to our website that talks about liability and payment for damages for shoulder injuries under Iowa workers’ compensation law. You can see this new section here.

Cumulative trauma and repetitive stress injuries can develop in a wide variety of jobs. Numerous factors can create an increased risk of a worker developing such injuries including high production requirements, frequent lifting and poor ergonomics. Cumulative trauma can result in injuries to many body parts including the neck, shoulders, back and hands.

We have added a new section to our website that discusses Iowa work comp law involving cumulative trauma and repetitive stress injuries. You can see this new section here.

Merry Christmas everyone. This is our holiday card from last year. My wife took it on her cell phone while we were putting up decorations.

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Moose is on my right side, and Bub is on my left side. They are allegedly Jack Russell-Rat Terrier mixes, but they must have something else in them because they are a little bigger than either a Jack Russell Terrier or a Rat Terrier. They are siblings, and they have spent every day of their lives together. The only disagreements they ever have relate to chew toys. We always get two of each toy, but somehow they usually decide that one is better, and they both want that one.

You can see a picture of Bub illustrating a blog post about workers’ compensation and alcohol here. You can see another picture of Bub and Moose together featured in a personal injury blog post about dog bites here.

Today I am going to talk about some special legal issues that come up in cases where an older worker is hurt on the job.

The first issue is the effect that the age of an injured worker has in assessing how much money they should receive. The first part of the answer is that age is not a factor if a worker has an injury to a scheduled body part such as an arm, hand, finger, leg, foot or toe. However, if an older worker has an injury to an unscheduled body part such as a neck, shoulder, back or hip, then age becomes an important factor. See here for a longer discussion about the difference between scheduled and unscheduled injuries.

If the older worker has an unscheduled injury then figuring out how much compensation should be paid requires analyzing the effect of the injury on the worker’s earning capacity. The factors that are generally assessed in determining the loss of earning capacity from the injury are:

An important part of most the Iowa workers’ comp cases that I handle is to get a good medical report from a neutral doctor to support my client’s case. When I send my clients to see the doctor that will write the report, that appointment is called an Independent Medical Exam or IME. The written analysis that the doctor eventually provides is usually referred to as the IME report.

I pick the physicians that I use for the IME process based on my past experience with the doctors that provide this type of service. I also read the decisions that are issued by the Workers’ Compensation Judges to stay up to date on what the Judges think of the opinions of the various experts that perform IMEs in Iowa.

Today I am going to talk about my strategy for the letters, records and other items that I send to the IME doctor. The IME doctor will read my letter and the enclosed documents before seeing my clients. After seeing the injured worker the IME doctor will answer my questions as part of the doctor’s report on my client.