The short answer is no, not without you agreeing to a settlement, signing settlement paperwork, and having it submitted and approved by the workers' compensation agency. However, telling you they are closing your file is a common insurance adjustor technique to get you to either:
1. Take a settlement for less than what you are owed under Iowa law; or
2. Believe what the insurance adjuster is saying, do nothing and not receive what you may be owed.
Attention: Please keep in mind that in Iowa like most states there are deadlines known as statutes of limitations for filing work comp. claims which can in effect close your file. In Iowa, the general statute of limitations is 2 years from your date of injury, but this can be extended if you are paid TTD (temporary total disability), TPD (temporary partial disability), and/or PPD (permanent partial disability benefits). We recommend that you always consult with a qualified Iowa workers comp attorney well before the 2 years expires or you risk receiving nothing for your work injuries.
As you can tell, insurance adjustors use this technique along with many other techniques that you are probably not familiar with in order to pay you and other injured workers as little money as possible. Here are a few other common techniques designed to save the insurance company money as your costs:
1. The insurance adjuster will send you a letter stating how much they have paid and how much they will pay for your functional rating.Yes, this looks like it may be the end of your case, but often it is not. For example, if you have been terminated, you are now making less money because of the work injury and/or you do not agree with the low functional impairment rating given to you by the company doctor then you may be entitled to significantly more compensation.
2. The insurance adjuster will offer to pay out your functional impairment rating for a lump-sum (instead of weekly) in exchange for you signing some documents.These documents that the adjustor wants you to sign will be settlement documents closing your medical and closing your file. This means to you that there will be no more medical care for your work injuries and if something bad was to happen to your job, no additional compensation. While there are times where signing settlement documents and closing your file may be appropriate it is usually not a good idea especially if you have not at least consulted with an attorney first.
3. The insurance adjustor will be abrasive with you perhaps even accusing you of getting hurt somewhere other than your job.This may end with the insurance adjustor sending you a denial letter. Just because they deny your case, does not mean that they are correct. If your claim is denied, then you really have no choice but to contact a work comp attorney or do nothing and receive nothing for your injuries.
If you have a question or issue with an Iowa work comp. claim then you should consider calling an attorney for assistance. We offer injured workers a no-cost work injury consultation where we will answer your questions and tell you what we think the best thing is for you to do moving forward. Sometimes this may be that you have been paid all you are owed or other times it will be that we think we can get you additional compensation. However, if you don't call you will never know so give us a call at 641-792-3595.
If you are not ready to speak with an attorney, but still have questions about your Iowa workers compensation claim, then you should request a copy of our latest Iowa Workers Compensation book that includes the Injured Workers Bill of Rights, a chapter on employment law matters like the FMLA, ADA, etc. and much more. We offer our book at no cost to you because we have seen far too many injured workers in Iowa make costly prevents mistakes. To request your copy to read in the comfort of your own hope click here. We will send you the book and a bonus DVD which will explain the work comp system in more detail and answer many of your questions in our Frequently Asked Questions Chapter. Request your copy now before you make a costly avoidable mistake.