There are thousands of Iowans who drive vehicles as part of their job. Each year hundreds of Iowans are injured in car and truck accidents while working and wonder what to do? Here are some answers to some of the most common questions that we hear.
1. Will I be covered by workers’ compensation?
The answer is yes, if you are driving the company vehicle as part of your job then you have a workers’ compensation claim. However, if you were not driving the vehicle as part of your work at the time of your car accident then chances are that you probably do not have a workers’ compensation claim. For example, if you are allowed to drive your company car to do things outside of work and you are in a crash on the way to the grocery store then chances are this will not be covered by workers’ compensation. However, if the other driver was at fault you have a personal injury claim discussed below in paragraph 5.
2. How will my medical bills be paid?
If you are under the workers’ compensation system, then your employer’s work comp. insurance should pay for your medical bills. However, under Iowa law, they are also allowed to direct your medical care. This means going to the doctors that they want to send you to subject to a few limited exceptions. Yes, you can ask to be seen by another doctor, but unless you can prove the necessary elements in order to successfully bring a petition for alternative medical care, they can refuse and send you to their medical providers of choice. Note: If you do not already have our book about Iowa Workers’ Compensation which explains medical care, 7 Costly mistakes to avoid, and much, much more as we offer it at no cost to you because we have seen far too many hardworking Iowans make costly mistakes.
3. Who will pay my wages if I cannot work?
If you are covered under the workers’ compensation system and the doctor that you are sent to takes you off work then you should receive a weekly workers’ compensation check. Likewise, if the doctor gives you work restrictions and your employer is not willing or able to provide you with work within your restrictions then you should receive a weekly worker’s compensation check. Another scenario is that you are given work restrictions but are unable to do your normal job and your employer pays you less. If this happens, you should receive TPD (temporary partial disability) benefits which represent 2/3 of the difference of the gross wages of what you made before you were injured minus what you are making after your injury. So if you made $900 per week before and now are making $600 you would be paid your wages on the $600 plus TPD of $200 (900- 600 = 300 X 2/3 = 200).
4. How much will my weekly check be?
This depends upon your earnings before you were hurt, your marital status, and how many dependents that you claim on your taxes. Generally, your weekly amount will be a little lower than your take-home (after taxes) weekly wage. However, keep in mind that these workers’ compensation benefits are not taxable so you will not have to pay income or other taxes on them.
It is better for you if there is another driver who caused the crash instead of you because they also have what is called a 3rd party claim. This is a personal injury claim that you have against the negligent driver. While this is good, it does create some legal obstacles that you should know more about such as:
The workers’ compensation insurance company has the right to get paid back from any money that you recover against the negligent driver. If you are not represented by an attorney, then you will likely see little, if any, of the money that exchanges most likely between insurance companies.
b. Right to pursue your case without your permission
Often the workers’ compensation insurance company will send out a letter notifying you that they intend to pursue your case on their own. This means they will take over your case against the negligent driver meaning you will have very little control over what happens. Generally, they are not going to look out for your best interests as they will only want to get paid back what they spent. It is a very good idea to at least consult with an experienced Iowa injury lawyer who has handled cases like these because they can get complicated. Our office has handled hundreds of car accident cases that also involved a workers’ compensation claim and we are happy to discuss your matter at no cost or risk. Our job is to make sure that you are not cut-out by the insurance companies and so you can keep control of your car accident injury case.
In conclusion, maybe you are not ready yet to call and talk to an Iowa injury attorney and that is fine. This is why we offer our Iowa Personal Injury book to Iowans at no cost or risk. We want you to learn more about Iowa injury laws in the comfort of your own home. If you would like to know more about Iowa Injury laws and how you can avoid making a costly mistake request a copy of our Iowa Injury Book. Request your copy today.
If you would like immediate assistance or schedule your no-cost personal injury consultation and evaluation call 641-792-3595