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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  • Can an employee injured at a company event in Des Moines still file for workers’ comp?

    An employee injured at a company event in Des Moines may or may not be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits, depending upon the nature of the event. This is a highly complex area of the law and the courts often have difficulty making rulings about employer responsibility at events.

    If you were injured at a company social, conference, off-site meeting, or other event while not officially on the clock, seek advice from a workers’ compensation attorney.

    Determining Eligibility for Workers’ Comp if an Employee is Injured at a Company Event

    Generally speaking, if you are injured while performing a job-related duty during the course of your employment, you are covered by workers’ compensation. The area becomes a little grey when you are injured at a company event and not necessarily while at your place of employment and not during working hours.

    The Iowa Division of Workers' Compensation or the courts will have to determine the employer’s liability for the injury based on whether or not the event can be considered truly work-related.

    Below are a couple of guiding factors the courts often use when making their determinations.

    • Were you expressly or implicitly required to attend the event?  
    • Did your employer receive benefit by your attendance?
    • Was your company assigned to the event?
    • Did it occur on company property?

    Litmus Test of Employer Liability for Employee Injured at a Company Event

    Iowa courts use a general litmus test for determining employer liability at company events, referred to as the “business-related benefit test.”  Essentially, if the company benefits from the event, it might be responsible for employee injuries at the event.

    However, if the only benefit the company receives is a boost in morale, the injured worker may not be eligible for workers’ compensation. It’s difficult to ascertain company liability in some instances; each case is different and needs to be carefully analyzed by a legal professional.

    For example, if you were injured while you were voluntarily at a company picnic, you weren’t paid, you didn’t have to be there, and your employer did not benefit from your attendance, you will likely not qualify for workers’ comp. Conversely, if you were at a mandatory off-site conference or if you were manning a concession table for your company at a community event, you will likely qualify.

    Example of Employee Injured at Company Event & Who Sought Workers’ Comp

    In the case of Gazette Communications v. Powell, a man injured himself while at a bowling event that an employee committee had sponsored. The workers’ comp commissioner decided that because the company benefited from the employee’s participation, workers’ compensation applied.

    However, the district court and the Court of Appeals later overturned that answer. They found that “morale and efficiency benefits are not alone enough to bring recreation within the course of employment.” So, because the sole benefit the employer received was an increase in employee morale, the event was not within the scope of employment.

    Our Workers’ Comp Attorneys Can Determine Your Eligibility

    If you were an employee injured at a company event in Des Moines and believe you’re eligible for workers’ compensation, we encourage you to give us a call to talk about your options. You might be eligible for benefits or additional types of compensation such as a third-party claim if another party (like a property owner or manager) was negligent and you suffered an injury because of that negligence.

    Contact us today at Walker, Billingsley & Bair in Des Moines for a free consultation: (641) 792-3595.

  • I need a doctor in Iowa to rate a burn injury from a work accident. Where can I go?

    Thousands of workers are injured every year while on the job or doing work-related tasks. When a worker in Des Moines sustains an injury while on the job, they are usually covered by workers’ compensation. Workers’ compensation often provides benefits in the form of medical care, disability benefits, death benefits, and more.

    One type of injury that’s relatively common in some types of industries is burn injuries. Burns can range in severity, and often require medical attention and assessment. If you suffer such an injury and wish to seek workers’ comp, you’ll need a doctor in Iowa to rate the burn injury from your work accident. Here’s what you need to know about finding a doctor to rate the severity of the burn.

    Who chooses medical care?

    In Iowa, the law stipulates that if you want workers’ compensation to pay for your doctor and healthcare expenses, then you will have to receive treatment from a healthcare professional your company selects. Essentially, the employer has the right to choose the doctor that the employee sees. Ask your employer or supervisor to direct you to an approved doctor.

    The doctor will give you an impairment rating for your burn injury. If you feel the rating is too low, then you can request another examination by a doctor that you choose. Your employer pays for this independent medical examination (IME).

    Why should I get an IME after the company doctor rates my burn injury?

    When it comes to serious medical issues, getting a second opinion is often a good idea. A burn injury can range in severity, as you may have a first-degree, second-degree, or third-degree burn. Third-degree burns are the most extreme, and may cause permanent disfigurement because they affect all layers of skin and even muscles or other tissue.

    The degree of burn that you have may affect the benefits to which you’re entitled under workers’ compensation law. A first-degree burn may cause no impairment, for example, while a third-degree burn may cause lasting impairment that warrants a higher impairment rating.

    Permanent Partial Disability Benefits for Burns

    If your burn injuries cause permanent impairment, you may recover permanent partial disability (PPD) benefits. These provide 80 percent of pre-injury wages for a number of weeks depending on the body part that’s affected and the impairment rating issued by a doctor (for scheduled member disabilities).

    For example, if the burns cause permanent disfigurement on the face or head, then the worker is entitled to a maximum of 150 weeks of PPD benefits. If the impairment rating is 50 percent, then the number of weeks would be 50 percent of 150 weeks, or 75 weeks.

    In the case of an unscheduled member disability, the impairment rating plays a role in benefits, but many other factors are taken into consideration as well when determining PPD benefits.

    Hire a Lawyer if You Have a Dispute about Your PPD Benefits

    If you have been burned at work and are unhappy with the burn rating your doctor is issuing and need a doctor in Iowa to rate a burn injury from a work accident, you may see another doctor. If you are still disputing your benefits, you can seek help from an attorney.

    At Walker, Billingsley & Bair in Des Moines, our attorneys can provide legal relief during this difficult time. For help with medical care, filing a workers’ compensation claim, or getting the benefits you deserve, call us today at 888-435-9886 to get started. 

  • I injured my shoulder while performing a task at work. What should I do?

    When you’re injured in the workplace, there are a variety of steps you need to take to ensure you get the compensation you deserve, including filing a claim for workers’ compensation. If you’ve injured your shoulder while performing a task at work, refer to the following for what you should do.

    Injuries are a common occurrence in the workplace. In the state of Iowa in 2012, there were 4.5 total recordable cases of nonfatal occupational injuries per 100 full-time workers, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

    Seek Medical Attention if You Injured Your Should While Performing a Task at Work

    If you’ve sustained a shoulder injury, the first thing that you should do is seek medical attention from one of the following.

    • a first aid team.
    • emergency room doctor.
    • or, other type of doctor or specialist.

    This person(s) will provide you with the care you need, a diagnosis of the type of shoulder injury, and give you valuable medical information about your shoulder injury that will be essential when pursuing workers’ compensation benefits.                                                 

    Notify Your Employer if You Injured Your Should While Performing a Task at Work

    After receiving medical attention, the next most important thing you should do is to notify your employer of the injury. According to Iowa Worker’s Compensation Law Section 85.23, the law requires that the employer have notice of the employee’s injury within 90 days of the injury. As such, the sooner you inform your employer of the injury, the better. If you fail to inform your employer of your injury within the 90-day period, you risk forfeiting benefits.

    Document the Work-related Shoulder Injury

    When a workplace injury occurs, it is important to keep a thorough record of the injury and any related information.

    • when the injury occurred.
    • where the injury occurred.
    • what you were doing when the injury occurred.
    • why you were doing what you were doing when the injury occurred.
    • any medical information about the injury.
    • the conversation you had with your employer regarding the injury.
    • and, any other relative information regarding your shoulder injury.

    This documentation may prove to be essential in getting you the benefits you deserve when applying for workers’ compensation.

    File a Claim for Workers’ Compensation

    The majority of employees in Iowa are covered by workers’ compensation in the event that they receive an injury while at work, and, a shoulder injury that is the result of employment activities is also covered.

    If you have been injured at work, it’s important that you file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. Your employer or work supervisor should help you to file a report of injury, which will then be sent to a claims’ management service.

    If your claim is approved, you will begin receiving benefits immediately. If your claim is denied, you will be sent a letter in the mail. In the case that your claim for workers’ compensation is denied, you need to seek the help of a workers’ compensation attorney immediately.

    Seek the Help of a Lawyer if You Injured Your Should While Performing a Task at Work

    The law is designed to protect those injured while working. Unfortunately, some workers’ compensation claims are unfairly denied. If your claim is denied, or if you do not think you have received the benefits to which you are entitled under the law, seek the assistance of a legal professional.

    At attorney can help you to gather the documentation you need and will work to get you the benefits you deserve. If your claim has been denied or if you need help with the workers’ compensation claims filing process, don’t wait any longer to take action. At Walker, Billingsley & Bair, our attorneys are ready to work for you. To start fighting for your rights today, call our offices at 888-435-9886 or contact us online

  • How much is permanently disabled back injury case worth to workman’s compensation?

    If you sustained a permanently disabled back injury, workman’s comp is available if it is work-related. In Iowa, you may be entitled to permanent disability benefits. Consult an attorney to help you explore your options and file a claim. A qualified attorney will handle your workers’ compensation case and deal with any objections or denials so you can focus on getting well.

    What criteria do I have to meet to be eligible for workman’s comp benefits?

    In Iowa, to recover workers’ compensation benefits, you must be able to prove that your injury is related to your work duties or environment. An injury, for these purposes, is defined by the Iowa Administrative Code as “any health impairment other than the normal building up and tearing down of body tissues.”

    While many permanently disabled back injuries are the result of a sudden injury like falling from a height, some are related to overexertion over a longer period of time that can cause a serious back injury.

    Can I receive permanent disability workman’s comp benefits?

    If you have received a prognosis from your medical team that your back injury is permanent in nature, you may be eligible for permanent partial disability (PPD) benefits at the conclusion of the healing period, that is, when the worker goes back to work, can return to similar employment, or further healing is not anticipated. PPD benefits pay 80 percent of the worker’s spendable earnings up to $1,447 as of 2014.

    Iowa code Section 85.34 mandates that these benefits are distributed based on the seriousness of the permanent disability and, if appropriate, how it affects your ability to earn a living for the remainder of your lifetime. A permanently disabled back injury is an unscheduled disability, so more than just a doctor’s impairment rating – based on the AMA Guidelines to Permanent Impairment – is important to determine duration of benefits.

    The overall calculation process is complex and involves multiple factors designed to anticipate your loss of financial achievement over the duration of your entire remaining life.

    • age.
    • level of education.
    • changes in wages because of the injury.
    • and, more.

    In some cases, the claimant receives a settlement early in the process, and it’s important that you are wary of any initial offers. You could be entitled to much more than the insurer initially offered, and your attorney should review any such settlement agreements.

    What if I am totally and permanently disabled?

    If your permanently disabled back injury completely prevents you from working, workman’s comp may provide permanent total disability (PTD). This provides 80 percent of weekly spendable earnings up to $1,572 as of 2014. These benefits are available for as long as the injury is permanent and totally disabling.

    Call Walker, Billingsley & Bair for help

    Of course, lifetime medical benefits are also recoverable to pay for medical treatment and care for as long as needed whether you receive PPD or PTD. This can help ensure you receive proper treatment for the injury.

    If you’re suffering from a permanently disabling back injury, workman’s comp can help you recover medical and disability benefits. Walker, Billingsley & Bair in Des Moines can help you pursue fair benefits. We will help you file a claim, deal with any disputes, appeal a denied claim, and help with other aspects of the process as well. Call us today at 888-435-9886 or use our online contact form to set up an appointment with an attorney.

  • How much compensation for an annular tear at work?

    How much compensation for an annular tear at work can vary greatly depending on the circumstances of your injury. Read on for more information about annular tears and the workers' compensation benefits for which you may be eligible.

    What are annular tears?

    Annular tears are injuries to the intervertebral discs of the neck and back. These tears or rips occur in the exterior of the disc and can be attributed to general aging, everyday activity or trauma. For example, overuse at work or a sudden accident can cause these injuries. Annular tears can cause extreme pain and discomfort.

    How do I know what caused my annular tear?

    Because some annular tears can be linked to the natural aging process, it is important that you discuss your particular symptoms and work activities with your doctor to help determine if your injury could be work-related. The following list of types of annular tears might help you prepare for any conversations about your injury. The nature of the annular tear and what layers of the disc it affects can help tell your doctor what type of tear you’re experiencing and what the causes might be.

    • Concentric tears: This type of tear is typically caused by injury. It appears between the annulus fibrosus layers circumferentially.
    • Rim lesion: Common causes for rim lesions include injury and bone spurs. They occur in the outer layers of the discs.
    • Radial tears: This type of tear is often attributed to aging and begins in the center of the disc and extends through the outer layers. If you have a radial tear, ask your doctor if this could be the result of repetitive work-related activities.

    How do I know if I’m eligible for workers' compensation benefits?

    You must be able to prove an injury that is related to your work duties or environment to be considered for workers' compensation benefits. An injury, for these purposes, is defined by the Iowa Administrative Code as “any health impairment other than the normal building up and tearing down of body tissues.”

    In the case of annular tears, it is important to be able to prove that the natural aging process is not the cause of your injury when seeking benefits.

    In addition, you must be an employee working in Iowa to qualify for benefits. If you are a contracted proprietor who is not classified as an employee, you may not be eligible for workers' compensation.

    Figuring Out How Much Compensation for an Annular Tear

    Workers' compensation benefits include compensation for the following benefits.

    • Medical benefits: Your medical care and treatments should be covered by workers' compensation. This benefit includes reasonable lost wages for attending treatments or therapies as well as necessary expenses for transportation.
    • Disability benefits: Injured or disabled Iowa workers are entitled to up to 80 percent of weekly spendable earnings in disability benefits. The maximum weekly compensation amount is $1,419.00 for permanent partial disability (PPD), or $1,543.00 for temporary total disability (TTD), temporary partial disability (TPD) or during a healing period (HP). Death benefits are also capped at $1,543.00 per week.

    Call Walker, Billingsley & Bair

    If you’re suffering from annular tears and you believe it is a result of your work activities or an injury you sustained on the job, you may be entitled to workers' compensation benefits. Walker, Billingsley & Bair can help figure out how much compensation for an annular tear, handle any disputes, and appeal a denied claim. Call us today at 888-435-9886 to set up a free consultation in Des Moines.

  • What happens if my damages exceed coverage in an insurance claim?

    If your medical damages exceed coverage on a car insurance policy, the options available depend on two important factors. One is who caused the accident and the other is the terms of an auto insurance policy or other financial resources. 

    Options if Damages Exceed Coverage and You’re at Fault

    The most important thing to determine after getting injured in an accident is who is at fault. If you caused the crash, it's your responsibility to take care of the medical bills. If you only carry liability coverage, it won't help cover your own damages. But if you have other types of car insurance coverage, it may cover your damages up to policy limits.

    For instance, if you purchased medical payments coverage it will pay for those costs up to the limits of the policy. It's available no matter who was at fault for the accident. But any expenses that exceed policy limits will need to come out of your own pocket, or your health insurance may cover the costs. This may require you meet your deductible and make co-payments though.

    Options if Damages Exceed Coverage and Another Party is at Fault

    If the other driver was at fault for the crash, his or her liability insurance should cover the medical claims. Of course, that also depends on policy limits. The minimum amount required for bodily injury liability for one person is $20,000. So if that's what the other driver has for coverage and costs exceed that amount, you will need to consider other options.

    For instance, if you purchased underinsured (UIM) motorist coverage, this helps pay for medical costs that exceed the liable driver's policy limits. Again, it's up to the amount of coverage you have available. Let's say the other driver's insurance covers $25,000 in medical claims but they total $30,000. Your UIM coverage will pay for the remaining $5,000. Your own health insurance coverage may also help.

    Another option might be to file a lawsuit against the other driver to recover the full amount of your damages. This can be difficult in some cases if the at-fault driver does not have assets and resources to pay for the full extent of your damages. Talk to your attorney about the options that may be available.

    Options for Damage Recovery When a Passenger is Injured

    Motorists in the state of Iowa are mandated to carry a minimum of bodily injury liability (20,000/40,000) and property damage liability (15,000). However, liability only covers drivers and passengers who are injured in another vehicle.

    If the driver of the car you’re in has medical payments coverage, it generally protects injured passengers. You also could be covered if the driver has uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.

    When another driver is at fault, then you have the option to file a claim under his or her insurance. If the limits in the policy aren’t enough to cover all of your damages, then you may want to seek legal action against the driver.

    As a passenger, if you have sustained serious, disabling or life-threatening car accident injuries, it’s important you fully understand your rights. Seek legal counsel immediately.

    Talk to Lawyer if Medical Damages Exceed Car Insurance Coverage Limits

    It's important to talk with an attorney if you’re facing substantial medical costs and not sure how to pay them. When someone else is at fault for your Des Moines accident, you need to make sure there's adequate evidence to prove liability; an attorney can help with this aspect of your case as well.

    Of course, it's not just medical bills that cause concern for injured drivers. When the injuries are serious it could also result in weeks, months or even longer of missed time from work. This will increase the financial burden when unable to make a living. Also, you may qualify to recover other types of damages that address the physical and/or emotional losses.

    Speak with a lawyer at Walker, Billingsley & Bair in Des Moines to learn more about your legal options and for help pursuing them. Call us at 888-435-9886 or contact us online to set up a consultation about your case.

  • Have the texting and driving laws made Iowa a safer place?

    According to some groups, texting and driving laws have not made Iowa’s roads safer. It's one of the few states where it's a secondary law meaning that while it is illegal to text while driving, police can't stop a motorist unless another traffic violation has occurred. Read on to learn more texting and driving facts and about the current laws.

    Why Texting Laws in Iowa Aren't Enough to Prevent Crashes

    According to the Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT), there were 31 deaths that occurred between 2001 and 2013 as a result of distracted driving with a phone or other device. Three of those fatalities happened in 2013. Also, distracted driving has caused more than 8,500 accidents.

    Of course, it's likely that other crashes (both fatal and non-fatal) have occurred because of distractions. Some aren't known and others aren't reported. In fact, law enforcement issued less than 50 tickets in 2013 for texting while driving, according to the Gazette via Iowa State Patrol Sgt. Scott Bright. Yet officers see motorists texting behind the wheel all the time but cannot do anything about it because it’s a secondary law.

    The DOT also reports texting and driving facts indicating that since passing of texting laws in July 2011, the number of crashes involving cell phones has gone up. Clearly, it hasn't been enough to stop drivers from engaging in these dangerous behaviors behind the wheel.

    Efforts Sought to Crack Down on Distracted Drivers

    In the first quarter of 2014, the Iowa Senate approved a bill that would crack down on distracted drivers. It would allow law enforcement to pull over and fine drivers using electronic communication. Original intentions were to target drivers caught texting. But it's widely recognized that engaging in any form of electronic communication (such as social media or email) is also dangerous when driving.

    The bill further seeks to make this a primary law. This means drivers can receive a ticket without committing any other type of driving offense.

    The only drivers Iowa has put restrictions on are teen drivers who some believe are more likely to text. They cannot text or use any type of electronic device while behind the wheel. But it's a problem that doesn't just affect young people.

    What to Do When a Distracted Driver Causes a Crash

    Understanding texting while driving facts and catching drivers texting or using a cell phone is one issue. What happens when these actions end up causing a crash? It's important to let the police know when responding to the scene of the accident that another motorist was texting. And if there were witnesses who saw the driver texting or talking on the phone, get their contact information. This will be helpful later on when filing a claim with the other driver's insurance company.

    If the accident results in serious physical harm, it's important to seek medical attention. Be sure to gather your medical records and bills to help establish the extent and severity of your injuries, along with the costs. Keep track of missed time from work and other financial losses.

    Finally, seek legal advice. An attorney can help prove fault by gathering the appropriate evidence. Legal counsel can also help determine the types of damages available. While you focus on healing and recovery, your attorney can deal with the insurance company. 

    Walker, Billingsley & Bair helps Des Moines accident victims pursue fair compensation for their injuries. Call us at 888-435-9886 or use our online contact form.

  • Is there a limit on how many procedures or surgeries workers’ compensation covers?

    There is a limit to the number of procedures or surgeries allowed under workers’ compensation coverage. But it is not a hard-and-fast number -- it varies by the injury and what doctors recommend. A statute of limitations exists for how long a person can receive treatment for a workers’ comp accident. For example, chiropractor visits may be covered until the victim heals to the degree that he or she can return to work, even if it is at a diminished capacity. Workers’ comp wouldn’t cover continual chiropractor sessions after this point. So what does workers’ comp cover? Read on for comprehensive information on workers’ compensation coverage.

    According to CityTownInfo.com, much of the Des Moines workforce performs manual labor, such as engine and other machine assembly, conveyor operation and tending, pipe laying, structural iron and steel working, structural metal fabricating and fitting, and bindery.

    Regardless of your labor sector, getting hurt on the job is always a possibility. If you or someone you love has been hurt on the job, you may be wondering what workers’ comp covers. One of your biggest fears may be whether the company will pay for multiple procedures or surgeries needed to restore your health after a work-related injury.

    Multiple Procedures or Surgeries and Workers’ Compensation

    Each state varies in terms of workers’ compensation laws, procedures and payments. However, Iowa is like any other state in that proof is the key to getting workers’ compensation to pay for surgeries or procedures needed after an on-the-job-injury. Your employer’s insurance company will have to prove the validity of your claim using physicians of their choosing.

    In fact, Iowaworkforce.org states that choosing your own doctor could affect the outcome of claims against your employer from on-the-job injuries. However, if a need for multiple surgeries or procedures is proven to the physician chosen by your employer’s insurance company, then workers’ compensation should pay for the procedure(s) in full. However, if your claim for multiple procedures or surgeries due to a work-related injury is denied, you may find yourself with limited hope and prospects for compensation.

    Denial of Claims Involving Multiple Procedures or Surgeries

    It is important to remember that not every claim you make to workers’ compensation will be accepted. Many people’s claims are denied. One Iowa woman shared her claim denial story with WorkersCompensationInsurance.com. A bitter battle with Iowa workers’ compensation and the woman’s employer has ensued over multiple surgeries needed on her arms due to Thoracic Outlet Syndrome.

    Thoracic Outlet Syndrome requires multiple surgeries that have to be done in a timely manner to avoid lifelong, debilitating side effects. Because the cost of the surgeries she needed exceeded $100,000, the woman believes that her employer’s insurance company denied her claim. She continues to be embroiled in a legal battle to get the surgeries she needs to regain mobility in her arms, which she cannot afford without the aid of workers’ compensation. There are many myths about workers’ compensation. Check with a workman’s comp attorney for the final word on your personal situation.

    Hope after a Denied Claim

    As the Iowa woman found out, combating a denied workers’ compensation claim for multiple surgeries or treatments can take much of your remaining strength. It can be an emotional and physical struggle to get the medical treatment you deserve for your on-the-job injuries.

    When injured Des Moines employees ask themselves, “What exactly does workers’ comp cover?” Walker, Billingsley and Bair answer.  When you feel like you cannot fight the battle against a denied workers’ compensation claim alone, reach for the trusted advice of legal counsel. Attorneys at Walker, Billingsley and Bair can help you feel as if there is someone in your corner, willing and able to get coverage for the multiple procedures or surgeries needed to increase your quality of life. Contact us via our website today.

  • Can I get workers’ compensation and Social Security disability benefits for my work injury?

    Many of Des Moines’ disabled citizens became disabled due to an on-the-job injury. If your disability has made it impossible to work, you may qualify for permanent workers’ compensation benefits or Social Security benefits. However, only one form of disability may not be enough to support your costly expenses. Although you may be entitled to both workers’ comp and disability insurance, you may not know how to go about getting them or when to file for workman’s comp in Iowa.

    Receiving Both Workers’ Comp and Disability Insurance

    You’ll be glad to know the Social Security Administration (SSA) reported that disability payments from private sources, such as private pension or insurance benefits, do not affect your Social Security disability benefits.

    These benefits are:

    • Veterans Administration benefits;
    • state and local government benefits, if Social Security taxes were deducted from your earnings; or
    • Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

    However, collecting workers’ comp and disability insurance at the same time may reduce your Social Security benefits.

    The SSA classifies workers’ compensation benefits as payments made to you because of a job-related injury or illness. If you already receive what the SSA classifies as workers’ compensation, your Social Security disability benefits may be affected. According to the SSA, “If you receive workers’ compensation or other public disability benefits and Social Security disability benefits, the total amount of these benefits cannot exceed 80 percent of your average current earnings before you became disabled.” Your average current earnings before becoming disabled are calculated by the SSA using various mathematical formulas.

    Calculating Workers’ Comp and Disability Insurance Benefits

    The SSA provides an example for calculating your worker’s comp and disability insurance benefits together. Imagine your average current earnings before becoming disabled was $4,000 per month. You, your spouse and your children would be eligible to receive $2,200 per month in Social Security disability benefits. However, if you also receive $2,000 per month from workers’ compensation, your family’s Social Security Benefits will be reduced by $1,000 per month because you would receive more than 80 percent of your average current earnings. 

    If there are changes to your workers’ compensation or other public benefits, let the SSA know and it will work with your to supplement the loss of income. For more information on the process of filing for Social Security disability benefits, visit the SSA website at www.socialsecurity.gov or call toll-free, 1-800-772-1213 (for the deaf or hard of hearing, call their TTY number: 1-800-325-0778).

    Filing for Workers’ Compensation and Social Security Disability Benefits

    Along with the pain you may be suffering, undergoing the filing and calculations processes for workers’ compensation benefits and Social Security Benefits can be daunting. Many disability advocate websites, like DisabilitySecrets.com and DisabilityAdvisor.com, suggest seeking the advice of trusted legal counsel to better understand the benefits to which you may be entitled.

    Although your workers’ compensation benefits may offset your Social Security disability benefits, they don't have to. Let the attorneys at Walker, Billingsley and Bair be your workers’ compensation and Social Security disability benefits activists: 641-792-3595.

  • Can a dog bite cause nerve damage?

    Can a dog bite cause nerve damage? A dog bite can cause nerve damage. A dog's powerful jaws can injure not only nerves, but also tendons, muscles and bones.

    Ways a Dog Bite Can Cause Nerve Damage

    Neuropraxia is the least serious type of nerve damage because it stretches nerves but doesn't severe them. It can occur from crushing injuries caused by the bite or when an attack results in a dislocation or fracture. Recovery can take anywhere from a few hours to several months.

    Axonotmesis is a serious injury that a dog bite can cause, damaging nerves and muscle and motor function. Recovery is much longer, from a few months to years.

    Neurotmesis is the most severe type of injury a dog bite – it occurs when the nerve is severed. If it's a clean cut, it's sometimes possible to repair the nerve. One type of procedure involves regenerating the nerves. Recovery will still take time because it's a slow process. But in many circumstances the damage is irreparable. When function doesn't return, it can cause abnormal sensations or movements.

    Signs of Nerve Damage after a Dog Bite

    Motor nerves control actions and movements. They do this by passing information from the spinal cord and brain to the muscles.

    Signs of motor nerve damage may include:

    • weakness;
    • paralysis;
    • fasciculation (twitching); and
    • muscle atrophy (muscle wasting).

    Sensory nerves affect sensation (such as pain). These nerves pass information from the muscles and skin to the brain and spinal cord.

    Signs of sensory nerve damage may include:

    • burning;
    • numbness;
    • pain;
    • prickling/tingling; and
    • difficulties with positional awareness.

    How Nerve Damage May Impact a Dog Bite Claim

    Nerve damage can occur to the face, hands or other body parts. It's possible that additional injuries occurred, such as fractures. Open wounds are at risk of infection, and a bite may cause disfigurement. These are all important considerations when determining the value of a dog bite claim.

    Dog owner liability depends on state laws, so it's important to understand how that may affect a claim. In Iowa, it's fairly easy to hold an owner liable for damages. The only exception that may apply is if the victim acted unlawfully, and it contributed to the injury. Breaking into someone's home and getting attacked by the family's dog would qualify as acting unlawfully. It is likely that the owner will not want to part with his or her dog after the attack, so familiarize yourself with the common challenges of a dog bite claim in Des Moines and how to address them.

    Recoverable damages include the medical costs to treat the injury. Nerve damage injuries may require surgery. If injuries are severe, cosmetic surgery may be needed to improve appearance.

    Lost earnings are another form of compensation that may be available in a dog bite claim. This applies to any missed time from work while healing and recovering. It may even include anticipated earnings if the attack leaves the person disabled.

    Nerve damage may allow for the recovery of damages such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, and reduced quality of life. Permanent scarring may allow for compensation for disfigurement. To better understand one's right to file a claim and the types of compensation to seek, contact a dog bite attorney at Walker, Billingsley and Bair. We handle dog bite cases -- just fill out our contact form for quick response.