Last Updated: 6/29/2023

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. 

Corey Walker
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With over 28 years legal experience, Corey has been recognized for his work as an injury attorney.