While performing a job task, an employee develops sudden pain in the lower back. The pain may get worse over a period of time because of heavy lifting at work. Before rushing off to file a workers’ comp claim, there are some important things to keep in mind.
Things an Injured Worker Should Know Before Filing for Workers’ Comp
Don’t jump the gun on filing a workers’ comp claim, first be sure these three issues are addressed:
- show proof;
- get medical records; and
- know the statute of limitations.
First, you need to show proof. It can be difficult to prove that back injuries were caused by a work-related task. But this is necessary in order to receive workers’ compensation benefits.
If it is the result of an accident, it might be easier to prove. But lower back pain that develops over time could be more challenging. If it can be shown the type of work was likely a contributing factor, such as someone who loads boxes onto a truck, it will make things easier.
Second, obtain your medical records. It’s important to have medical records that show you suffered a lumbar strain injury:
- doctor’s notes from a physical examination;
- results from imaging tests (MRI, CT scan);
- hospital discharge papers; and
- other types of documentation.
It should also include the treatment plan or special instructions, such as not returning to work.
Finally, learn about the statute of limitations for work-related injuries. Although it isn’t necessary to file a claim the same day you learned of your injury, by that same token, you shouldn’t wait too long.
According to the Iowa workers’ comp rules, employees have 90 days to submit a notice of injury report to their employers. Of course, if the back injury occurred in an accident, the clock starts on the date of the accident.
But if the diagnosis of a lumbar strain from work isn’t received until a later date, it is 90 days from that time an injury report must be submitted. If you’re planning to pursue a workers’ comp claim or you are facing problems with an existing claim, get help from Walker, Billingsley & Bair in Des Moines.