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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  • 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.

  • 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.

  • How do I check workers' compensation claim status in Iowa?

    If you're pursuing a workers' compensation claim in Des Moines, the best way to check on your workers' comp status is to contact your attorney, who will communicate with the workers' compensation insurer and even your employer or the Iowa Division of Workers' Compensation. Alternatively, if you don't have an attorney handling your case, you could contact the workers' compensation insurance company handling the claim. You may even be able to contact the Iowa Division of Workers' Compensation at 1000 East Grand Avenue, Des Moines, Iowa 50319-0209. The phone numbers are 515-281-5387 or (800) JOB-IOWA.

    But keep in mind that it can take weeks or months to settle a workers' compensation case, particularly if there's a dispute over the worker's entitlement to benefits. Read on for more information about what might affect how long it takes to settle the case and what to do if you're having trouble getting updates on your workers' comp status.

    What might delay the workers' compensation settlement process?

    The short answer is disputes. If there's a dispute over whether your injury is work-related or the degree to which you're impaired, you may find yourself in a dispute with the workers' compensation insurer. This may require requesting an independent medical exam if you disagree with your impairment rating or exploring your options if you do not believe you are ready to return to work when your doctor – chosen by the insurance company – says you are able to do so.

    If you find yourself in such cases, your settlement may take longer. It may require appealing a denied workers' comp claim with the Workers' Compensation Commissioner or taking other steps to get the benefits to which you are entitled.

    What if my attorney won't provide me updates on my workers' comp status?

    Your attorney should maintain open communication regarding your case. If you can't get through to your attorney's office or if your attorney never provides you with updates on your case, you may consider looking elsewhere for representation. If you haven't yet hired an attorney or if you're looking for a new attorney, make sure you understand how the firm handles communication. Ask if you will receive regular updates via telephone, email, etc., and if you can call for updates.

    Do I need an attorney to help settle my workers' compensation case?

    You may need a lawyer familiar with workers' compensation law who can communicate with the workers' compensation insurer and ensure you get the benefits to which you're entitled. This may be necessary especially if you suffered serious injuries or if the insurance company is not offering a fair settlement offer or is trying to deny that your injury or condition is work-related.

    Talk to a lawyer at Walker, Billingsley & Bair at 888-435-9886 for a no-cost, confidential consultation. You also can contact us online to set up a consultation.

  • Will my employer get in trouble if it stops paying my workman’s comp?

    An employer in Des Moines can get in trouble if it stops giving an employee his/her workman‘s compensation checks. As long as the individual is entitled to receive these benefits, the employer must provide them. 

    Employer’s Responsibility to Provide Workman’s Compensation

    Workers’ compensation insurance is mandatory for most employers in Iowa. They are required to pay the premiums for this insurance and provide benefits to workers if during the scope of employment they are injured or develop an occupational illness.

    The employer is obligated to initiate payment of weekly compensation benefits within 11 days from the date of disability. They are then to continue until there is a legal justification for terminating payments.

    One common reason payments may stop is if the employee’s injury has healed and he/she has returned to work. Of course, this would have to be based on a doctor medically releasing the employee – not the employer making the decision. P

    ayments could also stop if a doctor has determined the employee unlikely to improve further from the injury (in which case other benefits like permanent disability may commence), or is medically capable of returning to either the same work or something similar.

    Weekly benefits cannot be withheld from the employee without providing a 30-day written notice indicating the reasons for stopping benefits and the employee’s to file a dispute with the Iowa Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC).

    Sanctions for Noncompliance with Workers’ Compensation Laws

    The employer could be subject to paying the employee interest if weekly benefits are delayed. Further, a failure to comply with workman’s’ comp laws could lead to sanctions.

    Among other possibilities, an award of up to 50 percent of additional benefits could be ordered when there was a denial or delay of weekly benefits. So while an employer can get into trouble, it’s important that injured workers take steps to ensure the employer pays the benefits owed to the employee.

    Steps to Take When an Employer Stops Paying Workers’ Compensation

    A complaint should be filed with the DWC. It will look into the matter and determine if there was a violation of state laws. But it would also be a good idea to consult with an attorney.

    When it comes to workers’ comp, there are complicated laws that could impact a case, and it becomes even more challenging when there are disputes concerning eligibility or an employee has suffered a serious injury.

    It’s understandable that an employee might have concerns about retaliation for reporting employer’s noncompliance. But exercising one’s right to compensation doesn’t give license for an employer to fire, demote, layoff, threaten, or harass the employee. In fact, they could face even bigger problems if this happens.

    Don’t delay seeking legal counsel. An attorney will explain not only an employer’s legal responsibilities but your rights as well. Call Walker, Billingsley & Bair in Des Moines today to set up an appointment – 888-435-9886 or fill out our contact form.

  • My doctor has released me. Does this mean workers’ comp stops paying?

    If a doctor releases an injured worker, workers’ comp may stop paying on your workers comp claim. This depends on the circumstances surrounding the release, such as whether the worker was released to resume normal job duties, is allowed to return to light duty work, or the condition has gotten to a point where nothing more can be done to improve it.

    A Doctor Release Affects Workers’ Comp Benefits: Designated as Healed

    In many of these cases, the employee’s injury or illness eventually heals. For instance, a delivery truck driver is involved in a traffic accident that results in a broken arm and leg. After a few months away from work, both fractures heal and the driver can get back to his/her regular job duties. Payments would then stop.

    Doctor Release and Workman’s Comp Benefits: Put on Job Restriction

    Another situation that can arise is when the employee is released back to work but with restrictions. Job tasks might be modified or the employee might work fewer hours. If still being treated for his/her condition, payments should still continue.

    However, payments could potentially stop if the employee refuses to adhere to the work restrictions. Let’s say the doctor tells the employee he/she can perform light duty assignments but the employee doesn’t want to go back. It could impact the ability to continue receiving benefits.

    If the worker temporarily receives a lower-paying wage because of the injury, the temporary total disability (TTD) benefits the worker was receiving may transition to temporary partial disability (TPD) benefits. Instead of 80 percent of average spendable earnings that TTD pays, TPD pays two-thirds the difference between the lower-paying wages and wages before the injury.

    Release and Workers’ Compensation: Condition Not Expected to Improve

    A doctor might also find that the employee reached maximum medical improvement (MMI). An example would be a spinal cord injury. At some point it’s determined that nothing more can be done to improve the person’s condition. However, it doesn’t necessarily mean that ongoing treatment won’t be required.

    Any benefits that might be available depend on the nature of the injury. For instance, if someone has a permanent impairment, healing period benefits could be available during his/her recovery. But once a doctor determines there won’t be significant improvement from the condition and releases the person, those benefits would end and permanent disability benefits may begin.

    An employee might be released to work even though his/her injury has resulted in permanent disability. In that case, permanent partial disability (PPD) benefits might be available. Or if the doctor determines the individual can never return to work, then permanent total disability (PPD) benefits might apply.

    When It Might Be Necessary to Seek Advice from an Attorney

    When payments for workers’ comp stop, it’s important to understand if they stopped for the right reasons. It could be that they prematurely ended and the employer is attempting to deny benefits that an employee has every right to receive. Or it could be that the types of benefits change, depending on the employee’s injury status.

    One of the best ways to protect a workers’ compensation claim is to seek legal counsel. An attorney can explain eligibility for benefits and how the severity and extent of the injuries may affect benefits. To lean more, contact an attorney at Walker, Billingsley & Bair in Des Moines: 888-435-9886 or contact us online.


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  • Can you fight a workers’ compensation claim denial in Iowa?

    Yes, Des Moines workers may fight back if an insurer denies their workers’ compensation claims and they disagree with the decision. The first step for any worker facing a workers’ comp dispute is to calmly and honestly try to work out the dispute with the employer and/or the employer's insurance company.

    Hearing with Iowa Workers’ Compensation Commissioner

    If the worker and insurance company cannot resolve the dispute, the worker can request a hearing with the Iowa Workers’ Compensation Commissioner (IWCC). A Deputy Workers’ Compensation Commissioner (Administrative Law Judge, or ALJ) will hear arguments from both sides about the claim and issue a ruling.

    The Deputy Commissioner will examine the evidence in the case and may ask for arguments from the attorneys. The injured worker may testify regarding the case, and others may testify as well. The Deputy Commissioner will rule on administrative laws and codes. Each party may submit a brief to the ALJ to explain their positions.

    Workers unsatisfied with the Deputy Commissioner's ruling can appeal to the Iowa Workers’ Compensation Commissioner. The Commissioner may then review the evidence and make the agency’s final decision.

    At this point, the parties may submit briefs but will generally not submit any additional evidence. Workers often hire an attorney to represent them in hearings with a Deputy Commissioner and when appealing to the IWCC.

    Appealing a Case Beyond the IWCC

    Workers may appeal to the judicial review process where Iowa courts can make decisions regarding how the law is applied. Appeals may go to Iowa district courts, appellate courts, and even the Iowa Supreme Court. Rarely, the case might be remanded back for a new hearing or to consider other evidence.

    Using an attorney during the judicial review process is important to ensure you follow the correct procedures and to argue the case after the IWCC final ruling.

    Why do insurance companies deny workers’ compensation claims?

    There are valid reasons to deny workman’s compensation claims including:

    • lack of evidence;
    • violation of law or policy; and
    • expiration of the statute of limitations.

    If the employee was intoxicated or intentionally caused the injury, it may give the insurer grounds to deny benefits. Insurance companies also have invalid reasons to deny claims, though, and unfortunately some will deny claims or reduce benefits without just reason.

    Insurers may simply wish to reduce the amount they have to pay. They might blame injuries on pre-existing conditions or argue that the injury is not actually work-related. This may be the case in repetitive motion injuries that lack a single obvious event that could have caused the injury.

    What protections do workers have when fighting for their claims?

    Workers cannot be fired for pursuing workers’ compensation claims, and employers cannot punish other employees for supporting a worker's claim. Also, in any future job interviews, employers cannot consider past workers’ compensation claims as a factor in whether to hire the individual. Speak with an attorney if any of these problems arise.

    Walker, Billingsley & Bair can help Des Moines workers prepare appeals of their workers’ compensation denials and will answer any questions about the process. Contact our office at 888-435-9886 to schedule a consultation with an attorney.

  • Are bulging discs work-related?

    Bulging discs are a common type of work-related injury. To receive workers’ compensation benefits, the worker must establish that a single event (workplace accident) caused the bulging disc or it developed over a period of time from repetitive work-related tasks. 

    Symptoms That May Indicate a Worker Has a Bulging Disc

    This condition (also referred to as a herniated disc) happens when a spongy disc located between vertebrae is damaged. It may break open or bulge out, putting pressure on nerves in the spinal cord.

    If the bulging disc is in one of the two most common areas – the lower back or neck – then the pain might spread to the:

    • buttocks (lower back);
    • hips (lower back);
    • legs (lower back);
    • shoulders (neck); or
    • arms (neck).

    The most common symptom is pain, which can spread to other parts of the body. Weakness and numbness sometimes accompany the pain.

    It oftentimes starts as discomfort but worsens with time and when performing certain tasks such as:

    • lifting;
    • bending;
    • walking;
    • extended sitting;
    • standing; or
    • it may get worse at night.

    Causes of a Bulging Disc and How It Can Impact a Workers’ Comp Claim 

    A back injury such as this can occur in an accident at work. An example would be a worker who falls after losing his footing on a ladder or slipping on something on the floor.

    But it can also occur from performing repetitive tasks, especially when not done correctly. For instance, someone whose job tasks include lots of lifting (such as a mover or a warehouse worker) may develop a herniated disc. The constant stress placed on the back, particularly when the person doesn’t use proper lifting techniques, can cause the injury.

    Age can be a contributing factor. Middle-aged and older men are prone to this type of back injury. Keep in mind that whether age is an issue or not, the bulging disc must have occurred during one’s scope of employment because of events at work or while performing work tasks. If the person wasn’t involved in a workplace accident or doesn’t perform job tasks that would cause it to occur, it may not be linked to work.

    If the injury happened in an accident, a notice of injury to the employer or a supervisor would help substantiate this claim. If it was caused by repetitive job tasks, a doctor’s diagnosis and notes confirming it was linked to those tasks can be helpful.

    Steps to Take When Seeking Workers’ Compensation for a Bulging Disc

    It’s important to get evaluated as soon as possible. If the diagnosis is confirmed, the next step would be to inform the employer and/or insurer. A claim for workers’ comp benefits would then be filed.

    If approved, the employer’s workers’ comp insurer will pay benefits that may include lifetime medical costs related to the injury and disability benefits. If it results in permanent impairment, the worker may receive permanent partial disability (PPD) benefits of 80 percent of weekly spendable wages.

    Back injuries are industrial (or ‘body as a whole’) injuries, so disability benefits are paid for a percentage of 500 weeks.

    Body as a whole injuries hinge on a number of factors like:

    • impairment rating;
    • age; and
    • earning capacity.

    In the event the insurer denies the claim, then the next step would be to seek legal advice and possibly appealing the insurer’s decision. Walker, Billingsley & Bair helps Des Moines workers filing workers’ comp claims and appealing denied claims. Call us at 888-435-9886 to schedule your appointment.


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  • Can workers’ compensation payments just stop?

    Workers’ comp can’t just stop unless there is a legitimate reason to cease benefits. It’s important to understand your rights as an employee in Des Moines when it comes to a work injury and payments.

    Circumstances Under Which Workers’ Comp Benefits Could Stop

    The most common and valid reason for benefits to stop are when the employee has returned to work. This means the worker has recovered and can resume normal job duties.

    Iowa law requires employees receive a 30-day written notice with an explanation for stopping benefits under other circumstances. For instance, if the medical provider has indicated that significant improvement from the injury isn’t anticipated. Another situation in which a notice would be required is when the employee is medically capable of returning to the same or similar work.

    Along with a reason for terminating benefits, employees must be advised of their right to file a claim with the Workers’ Compensation Commissioner if there is a disagreement. Stopping benefits without providing notice could warrant seeking legal advice.

    When Termination of Workers’ Compensation Benefits Isn’t Warranted 

    Some insurers or employers may stop benefits without a valid reason. For instance, an employer decides to fire the employee to avoid paying benefits. While not working or when performing light duty work and receiving temporary partial workers’ comp benefits, an employer cannot terminate an employee as a means of retaliation.

    Another unwarranted reason to stop benefits is if the employer doesn’t agree with the doctor’s findings. There might be a dispute as to the disability rating assigned, work restrictions or other findings. The medical provider might have indicated the employee isn’t ready to return to work but the employer and/or insurer believes otherwise. This wouldn’t be a valid reason to stop benefits.

    What to Do if Workers’ Compensation Benefits Unnecessarily Stop 

    In certain cases, if the benefits are not paid, the employee could be entitled to interest or penalty benefits. Workers in Des Moines facing this problem should discuss the issue with an attorney.

    Most disputes concerning workers’ compensation benefits must be brought before the commissioner. Similar to other forms of litigation, the case can go to a hearing. Both sides will be able to present evidence. There will need to be proof that specifically addresses the wrongful termination of benefits.

    Although it’s not necessary to have legal counsel present, it is usually in the employee’s best interest to hire an attorney. Iowa workers’ compensation laws can be very complicated and an employee might not fully understand the process and rights afforded to workers.

    An administrative law judge will make a decision as to whether stopping benefits was warranted. They will be reinstated if the administrative law judge finds benefits were wrongfully terminated. But if the judge decides against the employee, it is possible to appeal that decision. If legal representation hasn’t been secured at this point, it would be the perfect time to do so.

    If you’re facing wrongful termination of your workers’ compensation benefits in Des Moines, talk to Walker, Billingsley & Bair about your rights. Call (888) 435-9886.

  • How do I prove chronic pain is caused by my work tasks?

    Carefully documenting your pain, collecting as much supportive evidence as possible, and teaming up with a lawyer to argue your case and represent your rights is the best way to prove that your chronic pain is related to your work duties. Chronic pain, although subjective and difficult to prove, is undoubtedly real and can be quite disabling.

    Causes of Chronic Pain

    Chronic pain can be related to dozens of conditions, many of which may be work-related.

    Causes of chronic pain can be:

    Many cases of work-related pain can be traced back to some originating factor, such as a slip and fall accident at work that caused damage to a worker’s back.

    The American Chronic Pain Association lists nearly 100 conditions that can cause pain, many of which are invisible and difficult to prove:

    • fibromyalgia;
    • pinched nerves;
    • herniated discs;
    • facet syndrome;
    • carpal tunnel syndrome;
    • myofascial pain syndrome (MPS);
    • stress and post-traumatic stress disorder; and
    • neuropathy.

    Proving a Workers’ Comp Case

    It’s quite difficult to successfully prove that a pain condition merits workers’ compensation benefits. Employers and their insurance companies don’t want to shell out money for fraudulent claims. And that’s understandable.

    It’s important for the entire workers’ compensation system that everyone – employers and workers alike – remain honest and that only true, work-related conditions are compensable. But if you are experiencing debilitating chronic pain that you know is attributed to your job, how do you go about proving it on a claim?

    Your lawyer can help you build a strong case by using applicable, convincing evidence, including:

    • your pain journal (an excellent form of documentation);
    • expert testimonies (for both proving your condition, as well as for explaining how it can be related to your work duties); and
    • records of your medical appointments (the more dedicated to diagnosis and treatment you are, as evidenced by frequent visits to doctors and specialists, the more apt the insurance company or courts will be to believe your pain is legitimate).

    If Your Claim is Wrongly Denied

    If you are the victim of work-related chronic pain, every day can be a struggle. Many people in that predicament just want answers; they want to feel better; they want to move on with their lives. If your condition is such that you are physically incapable of performing your job duties or if the pain is so bad that you require frequent breaks just to deal with the pain, you should be entitled to workers’ compensation.

    If you’re unable to work because of your pain, find legal counsel to prove your claim. If the insurance company already wrongly denied your claim, talk to an attorney about taking the case through the proper administrative and legal channels. For legal counsel in or around the Des Moines area, contact Walker, Billingsley & Bair today. We can discuss your claim and provide the legal counsel you need. Call us at 641-792-3595 today for a free consultation.