There are some situations where it matters a great deal of who you are working for if you are hurt while working. If you are working for FedEx, UPS, Amazon, or another corporate delivery business then you are covered by workers’ compensation laws. However, if you are injured while working for the USPS (United States Postal Service) or another branch of the federal government then your case is likely controlled by a totally different federal system called FECA (Federal Employees’ Compensation Act).
We only handle Iowa workers’ compensation cases and currently, we are not aware of any Iowa attorneys handling FECA claims. We direct most of the people who call our office with FECA claims to www.FecaAttorney.com.
If you were hurt while working for a corporate delivery company like FedEx, UPS, Amazon, etc. then there are some very important things that you need to know to protect your rights and avoid making a common costly mistake. Here is a list of a few things you need to consider:
1. Reporting your work injury
If you were hurt while working you need to report your work injury to your employer right away. This should be done in writing so there is no doubt that you did so, and you should keep a copy (take a picture with your phone at least) of the incident report that your employer will likely have you fill out. This is especially true if you sustained a traumatic injury like a fall, lifting incident, or other traumatic events. Technically, you have up to 90 days from when you knew or should have known that your condition was work-related but waiting can cause lots of issues. Iowa does recognize claims for cumulative trauma and often injuries develop over time. If you suspect that your injury that you are treating for is work-related make sure you tell all medical providers that you are seeing and also promptly report the injury to your employer in writing if you suspect that it is work-related.
2. Be ready and willing to work
If your doctor or the doctor that you may be sent to by your employer (often referred to as the company doctor) releases you back to work with restrictions then it is your responsibility to contact your employer and notify them that you are ready and willing to work within the restrictions. Failure to do so can result in your weekly benefits being forfeited and you receive no compensation while you are treated for your injuries. If your employer does offer you work, then you need to go try to do the work. If the work is causing you problems, then you need to report that to your employer and contact your doctor to see if different or additional work restrictions are necessary.
3. Continue to treat for your work injuries
If your doctor recommends that you complete 6 weeks of physical therapy before you are seen again, it is very important that you go get the treatment. Yes, there may be delays with workers’ compensation approving the medical care, and yes, you may need help from an attorney to get the medical care ordered by the doctor, but doing nothing will not only hurt your case, but you will not be getting the medical care and treatment that you need.
4. Follow your doctor's orders
If your doctor gives you work restrictions of no lifting of more than 20 pounds this applies to both work and at home. Keep in mind that it is common for workers’ compensation insurance companies to use surveillance in an attempt to film an injured worker doing more than the doctor recommended restrictions. If you are caught on video doing something more than your work restrictions this will create a big problem with your credibility and could cost you thousands of dollars and even your job. Worst yet, if your doctor asks you what kind of things that you can no longer do (such as golfing, running, etc.) and you are caught on video doing it this may even be worse than being caught outside of your restrictions.
5. Work within your restrictions
It is common for some employers to ask injured workers to work outside of their work restrictions. If this happens, it is best to refer to your restrictions and tell your supervisor or another employee that you have these restrictions for a reason and do not want to get hurt worse. This is one of the reasons why we recommend that you keep a copy of your work restrictions in your pocket, in your locker, and/or on your phone to show your employer should there be a question about what you can and cannot do.
6. Do not discuss retirement
In 2017 there were more than 20 changes made to the Iowa workers’ compensation laws that were bad for injured workers. One of these changes is that if you plan to retire at some point this can be used against you in order to reduce the amount of compensation that you will receive. Over the years we have seen doctors, human resources people, and others try to convince injured workers that they should just retire now that they are hurt. Well, this would be a very costly mistake to even tell someone you planned to retire at some point regardless of if it is due to a work injury or not. Your employer and the workers’ compensation insurance company want to keep their money and will do everything in their power to not pay you fair compensation. Therefore, you need to consider protecting yourself and getting help.
These are just a few of the many issues that you need to know about if you or a loved one have been injured on the job whether working for a delivery company like UPS or FedEx or another employer. Injured workers are starting to realize that the insurance adjuster and their employer are not looking out for their best interests. If you would like immediate help or have questions that need to be answered right away use our LiveChat feature by clicking here or call 641-792-3595 24 hours a day/ 7 days per week and you will be connected to our team. There is no cost or obligation, and your information will remain confidential. If one of our workers’ compensation attorneys is not immediately available, you will be able to schedule an appointment right away. If you do decide to hire us to help you keep in mind that we do not take any of the money that you may be receiving at this time and also do not take part of your functional impairment rating if it is paid voluntarily by the insurance company.
If you would like more information about your rights and responsibilities under Iowa's workers' compensation system, then request a copy of our Iowa Work Injury Book offered at no cost because our workers’ compensation attorneys have seen too many workers make costly mistakes which resulted in the loss of thousands of dollars.