Are you able to separate the myths from the facts about workers’ compensation? Don’t let workers’ comp myths prevent you from pursuing benefits to which you’re entitled. Below are five myths to be aware of as you file your claim or contemplate doing so.
Myth One: “I can choose my own doctor.”
In Iowa, the employer will pay for your work-related injury treatment. But your employer also decides the doctor you see. Iowa does provide a means by which workers may request alternate care if they are unhappy with the employer-chosen doctor, though. Workers can request an independent medical examination (IME) if they disagree with the employer-chosen doctor’s assessment of their injury.
Myth Two: “My employer can fire me for filing a workers’ compensation claim.”
The law protects you from retaliation stemming from filing a workman’s comp claim. This includes retaliation by firing you. If your employer does engage in retaliatory behavior, they could face legal penalties for things such as:
- firing you;
- demoting you; or
- harassing you.
Myth Three: “I can’t afford legal representation for a workers’ comp case.”
Most workers’ comp lawyers will work on a contingency fee, so you don’t have to pay if you recover nothing. When you hire an attorney, be sure to discuss the fee schedule up front during a consultation, which most attorneys provide for free.
Further, a lawyer does not collect a fee on any weekly benefits you are already receiving. Additionally, if you receive a permanent impairment rating from a doctor, the attorney should not collect any fee based on those benefits. However, if because of the attorney’s efforts you receive additional money beyond that from the impairment rating, then the attorney may collect a fee on that.
Myth Four: “Any lawyer can help with my workers’ comp case.”
If you don’t hire a lawyer familiar with the Iowa workers’ compensation system and who can show you a success rate with past cases, then you are jeopardizing your case. You should treat hiring a lawyer like a job interview. Analyze whether the lawyer is worth your time and contingency fee.
Some good rules of thumb, look for a lawyer who:
- is certified with the Iowa State Bar;
- allocates at least 40 percent of his or her practice to workers’ comp cases; and
- devotes 15 hours a year to taking continuing education classes on workers’ comp law.
Myth Five: “I will get paid immediately.”
You can start recovering disability benefits if your disability lasts more than three days. That initial three-day period may become payable if you are disabled for at least 14 days. Also keep in mind that some workers’ comp cases may become disputed and injured workers may have to fight for benefits they should have already received.
Get Good Information about Workers’ Compensation
Make sure you get only the facts about workers’ compensation law and claims. Walker, Billingsley & Bair helps Des Moines workers pursue fair workers’ compensation benefits to which they’re entitled. Contact our Des Moines offices at (888) 435-9886 to set up a free consultation to review your case.