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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What Happens to My Case If The Courts Are Closed?
If you have a Civil Jury Trial? On April 2, 2020, the Iowa Supreme Court issued an order stating that all civil jury trials set before August 3, 2020 will need to be continued.
If you have a Workers' Compensation Trial/Hearing? Presently, the Iowa Workers' Compensation Commissioner has ordered that all cases set for trial/hearing before June 16, 2020 shall be done through CourtCall which is a system similar to Zoom. It allows all parties, their attorneys, the judge/deputy, the court reporter and witnesses to all appear on their computers. Since the order came down, we have had a hearing through CourtCall and found that is worked pretty well. The alternative is that one or both parties can file a motion to continue the hearing in order to have an in person hearing by the end of the year which may or may not be granted.
There are other rules for FED's forcible entry and detainers, bench trials, etc. that you can find at https://www.iowacourts.gov/newsroom/news-releases/.
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.
Do insurance investigators follow you in personal injury cases?
In some cases, yes. An insurance company or other interested party may follow you and videotape you in the hopes of proving you are exaggerating or misrepresenting your injury. This is legal and the insurance investigator is loyal to the insurance company, not to you. This person’s job is to prove whether or not your claim is legitimate.
What should I do if I suspect I am being followed?
Most people become nervous when they suspect an insurance investigator is following them. However, the key is to be yourself. You know that your injury is legitimate, so make sure that you follow your doctor’s orders to the letter. If the doctor said no heavy lifting, leave the groceries and garbage bins for a family member.
If you have been told to stay off your feet, keep your outside excursions to a minimum. It might be your nature to want to help around the house or play with the kids despite the pain and discomfort it causes, but don’t do anything you wouldn’t want the insurance company to see.
Can an insurance investigator videotape me inside my home?
An investigator may videotape your home if he stays on public property and you do not have a reasonable expectation of privacy. For example, if you’re standing in front of your living room window lifting weights with the blinds up, then it might not be reasonable to expect privacy.
In that case, anybody walking by the house could see you. But if an investigator finds a small crack in the blinds and starts videotaping you in the home, this could be a violation of your privacy. Also, an investigator may not install cameras in your home.
Will an investigator talk to my neighbors?
If an investigator is suspicious, he may try to speak with your neighbors. He may ask questions about taking out the trash or doing yard work. It might be a good move to talk to your neighbors and let them know what is going on with the lawsuit so they do not misspeak. For example, a neighbor may go on about a gorgeous fence you built not realizing it was erected prior to your injury.
What are some other methods of surveillance insurance companies use?
One relatively new form of insurance surveillance is simply checking your social media accounts. If you’re posting photos on Facebook of you skiing, describing a recent workout on Twitter, or posting pictures to Instagram that show you running in a recent 5K race, the insurance company might use these photos to discredit your claim and injuries.
Keep in mind that it may not be clear when pictures were taken and innocent comments may be misconstrued, so be very careful when using social media during your personal injury claim.
If you have been injured and would like to know what type of compensation to which you may be entitled, call Walker, Billingsley & Bair at (888) 435-9886 to discuss your case. The confidential consultation is free.