Questions We Are Asked Each Week By Clients...
We are often asked questions like how much should the insurance company pay? How are my weekly benefits calculated?, etc. So we have put together some of the questions we here the most and the answers to them. We hope this helps you avoid making a mistake in your Iowa personal injury, car accident, dog bite, work injury or other injury matter.
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The doctor they sent me to wants me to have surgery, but the insurance company has not approved it. What can I do?
Unfortunately, it is common for insurance companies to ignore the treatment recommendations made by the doctors they choose. There is a procedure called "alternative medical care" which can be used to seek an order requiring the insurance company to pay for the recommended treatment. The first thing you are required to do is to send a letter to the insurance adjustor requesting that the care be approved. You should keep a copy of the letter as you have to prove you requested the care in writing.
This and other specific legal requirements regarding alternative medical care are explained in Chapter 4 of our Iowa work comp. book available at no cost to you.
Can you ask your employer to do a different or another job if your doctor says you are unable to do your current job?
Yes, you can always ask, but keep in mind that in most circumstances your employer is under no obligation to either provide you with work within your restrictions (however, if they don't have work for you then you should receive a weekly workers compensation check) or provide you with work that you feel is more suitable. In most situations, you are an employee at will and if you reject work that is offered to you within your restrictions then you may be fired and also receive no weekly workers compensation benefits.
What Do I Need to Do to Return to Work after a Work Injury?
If your doctor releases you to return to work with or without restrictions then you should immediately contact your employer. You should request that your doctor provide you with a copy of the written return to work document. You should give your employer a copy, but also keep a copy for your own records. Failing to timely contact your employer after you have been released may result in termination of your employment and your workers' compensation benefits being stopped. It is important to keep your employer informed of changes in your doctor's orders regarding your ability to work so that it does not affect your benefits.
My son died in a work accident, was not married and has no dependents. What happens?
If a deceased worker is not married and has no dependents, then workers' compensation will only pay the related medical expenses and burial expenses up to 12 times the statewide average weekly wage. However, depending upon the circumstances there may be other claims to pursue so a family member should consult with an attorney to find out more information.
To learn more including the 7 Deadly Mistakes to Avoid if You are Hurt at Work order a copy of my FREE Book entitled “Iowa Workers’ Compensation- An Insider’s Guide to Work Injuries”. Why offer a Free Book? I have represented hundreds of Iowans hurt at work and have seen too many clients make mistakes before they had the “right” information resulting in them losing thousands of dollars. Iowans hurt at work are now beginning to realize that they should learn about Iowa's work injury laws. Finally, you can learn about work injuries in the comfort of your own home with no risk or obligation. So to learn how to avoid costly mistakes and your rights Call Now (800)-707-2552, ext. 511 (24 Hour Message) or go to www.IowaWorkInjury.com. For immediate assistance call 515-440-2852 and ask for Corey.
My employer put me on FMLA leave and I did not apply for it. Can my employer do this?
Yes, your employer can run your FMLA time (generally up to 12 weeks of leave if you qualify explained more in our Iowa Work Injury book) at the same time that you are off work due to a work injury.
Should I Receive Any Benefits from Workers Compensation?
If it is determined that you have sustained a work-related injury arising out of and in the course of your employment then yes, you should receive benefits in the form of medical care at no cost to you, weekly checks if you are not able to work and permanent compensation depending upon the nature and extent of your work injuries.
Who Pays the Benefits You are Owed
Most employers purchase an insurance policy that pays for your benefits which means that your employer is not paying anything out of pocket. Some employers are self-insured or have a large deductible meaning that in some cases despite there being an insurance company involved, your employer may be paying for your benefits. Either way, Iowa law requires all employers to provide workers compensation benefits to employees. In exchange for workers' compensation, employees are generally prohibited from suing their employers for negligence causing them to be injured.
Attorneys Help You Get Your Benefits Paid
As long as you have a work-related injury, worker's compensation should be paying you benefits while you are off work. If you are denied benefits or think you are receiving the wrong benefits, the work injury attorneys at Walker, Billingsley & Bair are here to help. Call 641-792-3595 or complete our online contact form to get help from one of our attorneys and find out your options for getting your benefits paid.
Who should you contact if you have questions about your workers compensation benefits?
If you are handling your claim on your own, then you can contact the insurance adjustor assigned to your case. However, keep in mind that the insurance adjustor is not there to help you or assist you. They do not even have to tell you what the law is or even the truth about your case. So use caution when speaking with and agreeing to what the insurance adjustor tells you. If you decide to seek legal assistance with your workers compensation case then you would contact your attorney with questions about your benefits. You may or may not need an attorney in your case.
Learn More About Your Benefits and Rights as an Injured Worker
In our new book entitled Iowa Workers' Compensation, An Insider's Guide to Work Injuries that we tell you whether or not you need an attorney and how the system works in plain English. We offer the book at no risk or cost to Iowa injured workers because we have seen far too many hard working people make costly mistakes in their Iowa work injury claims that cost them thousands of dollars and sometimes their entire case. Request your copy to learn more.
What is Worker's Compensation in Iowa?
If you or a loved one have been hurt on the job in Iowa or if your claim is being handled under Iowa law, then you will need to be familiar with the Iowa workers compensation system. Generally, if it is determined that your claim is compensable (meaning that it arose out of and in the course of your employment) then there are 3 basic benefits that you should receive:
1. Missed work - If you miss work because of your work injury, then you should receive a weekly check while you are healing called TTD (temporary total disability). These weekly checks should continue until you either return to work or are placed at MMI (maximum medical improvement) which means the doctor thinks you are as good as you are going to get.
2. Medical care and treatment - Almost always, the workers' compensation insurance company will direct your medical care to the doctors and other healthcare providers of their choice. You should not be responsible for any charges related to medical care that the insurance company sends has you get. In addition to paying for your medical expenses, the workers' compensation insurance company should also pay you for your mileage. The amount owed for mileage changes each year, but is usually around $.50 per mile. You will need to document the date, which medical provider you saw, the address you went to and the total number of roundtrip miles.
3. Permanent benefits - If it is determined that your work injuries are permanent, you will likely receive a permanent impairment rating based upon the AMA Guides. There are many different ways to determine how much PPD (permanent partial disability) benefits you should receive which are explained in detail in other articles and in our book entitled Iowa Workers' Compensation, An Insider's Guide to Work Injuries that we offer at no cost or risk to you. Generally, keep in mind that the insurance company wants to pay you as little as possible for your injuries so before you even consider a potential settlement in your case, you should educate yourself and talk to a qualified Iowa workers compensation lawyer.
Know Your Rights As An Iowa Injured Worker?
If you or someone you know has been injured at work, Walker, Billingsley & Bair is here to help answer your questions. Iowa Workers' Compensation Attorney Corey J. L. Walker offers a book about Iowa work injuries at no cost, risk or obligation. The book is called “Iowa Workers’ Compensation- An Insider’s Guide to Work Injuries” which includes 7 Deadly Mistakes to Avoid if You are Hurt at Work. To order your copy go to www.IowaWorkInjury.com or Call Now 1-800-707-2552 (ext. 811) (24 Hour Recorded Message). Corey offers his Iowa work injury book at no cost because he has seen too many hard working Iowans from Cedar Rapids, Des Moines, Ft. Dodge, Ankeny, Pella, and other towns throughout the state of Iowa hurt at work job make mistakes which cost them thousand of dollars. Iowans hurt at work are beginning to realize that the insurance company is not there to help them and that they should learn about Iowa's workers compensation laws. Finally, there is a book about Iowa work injuries that you can review in the comfort of your own home. For immediate assistance call 515-440-2852 and ask for Corey.
I think someone is watching me. Would an insurance company or my employer hire someone to video tape me, commonly known as surveillance?
The simple answer is "Yes."
When your injury is serious enough that it requires you to be out of work for an extended period of time, there is a good chance that you will be placed under surveillance at some point in time. Surveillance is when a private detective hired by the insurance company will videotape you at your home, when you leave your home, when you go to stores, etc. Because you may be under surveillance, you should stay within any restriction the doctors have given you, assume that you are being followed and act accordingly.
Take Action to Find a Lawyer Today
At Walker, Billingsley & Bair, our attorneys are ready to get to work on your workmans compensation claim today. We want to help you complete the necessary steps in a work injury case:
- Getting the necessary treatment.
- Filing a workers compensation claim
- Acting as your support system
I have an old injury that began bothering me when I injured myself at work. Will this injury be covered even though it is pre-existing?
Yes, if your work duties cause an aggravation of preexisting condition then you should be covered by workers’ compensation. However, this decision will depend upon your doctors saying that the work activities aggravated, accelerated, and/or made your preexisting condition worse. Work injuries involving preexisting conditions may be denied by the employer in an attempt to avoid paying benefits to the worker.
What If My Injury Doesn't Get Better?
However, the preexisting condition issue often comes down to if the aggravation is temporary or permanent. Frequently company doctors will say that the condition is temporary and that you returned to baseline (also known as your preexisting condition) after a work injury. Keep in mind that the opinions of the company doctors while important, are not conclusive and does not mean that you automatically lose your case.
My Workers Compensation Claim has been Denied – what should I do?
If you’re claim has been denied because of a preexisting injury, you will likely need an attorney. You have the right to have workers’ compensation pay for your lost wages if you can prove that your work has aggravated or accelerated a preexisting condition. Because advocating for yourself can be hard, our attorneys are here to help.
At Walker, Billingsley & Bair, we understand how frustrating it is when your employer denies your claim. We can help you get the benefits you deserve.
Our attorneys are passionate about workers in our state and are determined to work hard to get you your full benefit amount. To learn more, call us today at 641-792-3595 or fill out our online contact form.