Workplace accidents that lead to injury are common in the United States, and Iowa is no exception. According to workplace injury data provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2012 alone, there were 54,000 incidents of nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses throughout all industries in Iowa.
Fortunately, for employees who are injured while at work in Iowa, workers’ compensation benefits can provide monetary benefits to cover the costs of rehabilitation and missed wages. If there's a dispute over benefits, it may require going through a workers’ compensation hearing to prove eligibility. The following is an outline of how to prepare for a hearing and what to expect:
Bring Evidence of Your Injury and Other Developments
If your case is proceeding to a workers' compensation hearing, then you should have filed documentation of the injury you suffered at work already. To be prepared for the hearing, you should bring specific medical documents to demonstrate your condition since the accident. Some documents that you should bring include:
- Medical records, updated to reflect changes in your condition.
- Results of any treatments administered since the injury or illness occurred.
- Documentation of any new injuries or other ailments you have sustained as a result of the original injury.
- A journal documenting the pain or discomfort you experience on a daily basis. This provides first-hand information of your experiences and may benefit your case.
Furthermore, if you have seen more than one general practitioner or specialist about your injury, collect records from each doctor you have visited. The more documentation you have to prove the severity of your injury, the more likely you are to be awarded compensation.
What Happens Before and During the Workers' Compensation Hearing
It is important to note, per the rules set forth by Iowa Workforce Development, attorneys are no longer allowed to meet with their clients in hearing rooms. Therefore, you should schedule a meeting with your legal representative in a private location to discuss the case.
During the hearing, you can expect to be asked a multitude of questions, including those about your work history and medical history. This can give the Deputy Workers’ Compensation Commissioner assigned to hear your case the best possible understanding of the circumstances that led to your injury and its effects. It is important that you answer all questions truthfully and to the best of your knowledge to avoid any problems in the future.
Receiving Compensation for Your Injuries
Depending on your case, it may take several months for a final decision. Additionally, if your request is denied, you have the ability to appeal for further consideration.
Protect your rights and consult a legal professional before your hearing. The workers’ compensation attorneys at Walker, Billingsley & Bair are ready to listen to your case, help you file a claim for compensation, and represent you in any disputes and workers' compensation hearings that may arise. Call us today at (888) 435-9886 to set up a free consultation.