For workers in Marshalltown and across the state, Iowa’s workers’ compensation system can be an invaluable way to pay for medical expenses and recover disability benefits to provide for themselves and their families after a workplace injury. Iowa law provides many protections for injured employees; however, there are situations where workers’ comp insurance companies take advantage of injured employees or do not provide them their rightful benefits. Marshalltown workers can hire a work injury lawyer to protect their rights in these situations.
What is workers’ compensation and how does it work?
Workers’ compensation is a type of insurance that provides weekly disability benefit payments, full coverage of medical expenses, and select vocational, rehabilitative and other benefits to injured workers. Iowa state law requires that most companies carry workman’s compensation insurance. All injuries at work are covered by this insurance, and there is no consideration of who was at fault for the accident or injury.
The worker must notify the employer of the injury within 90 days of the accident or of becoming aware that the injury is work-related. After becoming aware of an injury, an employer submits a claim to their insurance company and a First Report of Injury document to Iowa's Department of Workers’ Compensation.
Next, the employer's insurance company may begin to pay benefits, but sometimes insurance companies deny or do not pay in full on a claim. In the event of a dispute, workers may require an attorney’s assistance. Employees first can contact the Department of Workers’ Compensation if they disagree with the insurance company. If this does not resolve the dispute, workers can appeal to the Iowa Workers’ Compensation Commissioner for an arbitration hearing to resolve the dispute. If that’s not successful, workers can take the case to court.
How are disability benefits calculated?
The type of disability benefits you receive depends on if you are totally disabled (you cannot work) or partially disabled (you can work but are impaired) and whether the impairment is temporary or permanent. Temporary total (TTD), permanent total (PTD) and permanent partial disability (PPD) benefits are calculated as 80 percent of your average weekly spendable earnings from the previous 13 weeks. Temporary partial disability (PTD) benefits are two-thirds of the difference of your previous wages and current wages in a temporary but lower-paying position.
You can receive TTD, PTD and TPD until you return to your previous employment at your previous wages. PPD is available for a certain number of weeks, which is dependent on the body part that’s impaired and the rating of impairment issued by the treating physician. If you disagree with the impairment rating, you can request a second opinion from another doctor, but Marshalltown workers in disputes about impairment ratings may need help from a work injury lawyer.
What should I do if I think I want to file an arbitration claim against my company's insurance provider?
Contact the Iowa Department of Workers’ Compensation first to see if they can resolve the dispute. This is the department that regulates and enforces the workers’ compensation laws. You should also be clear and descriptive with your doctor, so the doctor fully understands your injury. Good communication is necessary to determine a fair impairment rating.
If this doesn’t work and you want to dispute your benefits, impairment rating and whether your injury is work-related, you may need to hire a work injury attorney to help you. The lawyers at Walker, Billingsley & Bair can help you work towards a fair outcome in your case. If you’re in the Marshalltown area, contact a work injury lawyer by calling (888) 435-9886 or contacting us online to set up a consultation.