Last Updated: 4/25/2024

Each year in Iowa more than 35,000 workers are hurt on the job. Every year thousands of CNAs, LPNs, RNs, and other medical providers in Iowa are injured while carrying or lifting patients. As patients in Iowa become increasingly heavier because of our obesity problem, this causes more work injuries.

Medical providers sustain injuries to their lower back, neck, hip, arm, shoulder, and other injuries. If you or a loved one are injured while lifting or carrying a patient then the first thing you need to do is report your work injury to your employer and request medical care.

You may think your injury will heal on its own or you are worried about reporting your work injury. If you do not report the work injury and request medical care right away this raises red flags with your employer and/or their insurance company. These red flags can sometimes result in your claim being denied, which creates another set of problems and issues.

Medical care

Once you report your work injury and request medical care your employer or their insurance company should direct your care to a medical provider of their choice. Iowa is an employer-choice medical state, subject to a few exceptions such as emergency treatment and what is known as alternative medical care.

If your employer refuses to send you to a medical provider and you believe that you need treatment, then you should consider going to an Urgent Care Clinic or a hospital emergency room.

However, often even though Iowa law says your employer or their insurance company is responsible for paying for emergency care it is common for them to deny your claim, forcing you to use your health insurance at least initially to pay for your medical care.

Time Off Work

If the company-authorized physician and/or another doctor gives you restrictions or completely takes you off work because of your work injuries then you need to immediately provide your work excuse to your employer.

If you have restrictions then you need to tell your employer that you are ready, willing, and able to work within the restrictions. If they do not offer you work, then you should receive TTD (temporary total disability) benefits until you either return to work or are placed at MMI (maximum medical improvement). If you are completely taken off work then you should also receive TTD benefits.

Return to Work With Restrictions

If your employer offers you work within your restrictions then you need to go to work and attempt the work that they are offering. Technically, the work offer is supposed to be in writing and advise you of your rights and responsibilities.

If you refuse to do the light duty work based upon a verbal or written offer, then you will likely not receive workers’ compensation benefits in the near future and also not receive unemployment given that your employer is offering your work.

You should keep a copy of your work restrictions in your pocket or your locker in case someone asks you to work outside of your restrictions. If you are having increased pain or difficulties doing the work, they are offering you, then you need to report this to your employer and call your doctor to advise them of the problems you are having.

You do not want to worsen your injuries and if you fail to report your problems later on it may be difficult to prove this. Reporting problems can result in you seeing the doctor again for a revaluation of your work restrictions.

Do Not Quit Your Job

It can be very frustrating dealing with the pain and problems associated with a work injury, but under no circumstances should you quit your job. Quitting your job can result in your weekly benefits being stopped, your medical care and treatment being stopped and will likely significantly reduce the overall value of your Iowa workers’ compensation case.

MMI (Maximum Medical Improvement)

At some point in your case, your doctors and other medical providers will likely determine that you are healed as much as possible and have reached maximum medical improvement. Keep in mind that this is just an opinion and often injured workers who contact our office have medical care and treatment options that the workers’ compensation doctors have not recommended because of the costs associated with the medical care.

If you have been placed at maximum medical improvement and want to explore other treatment options give us a call at 641-792-3595 (phones are answered 24/7) or Contact Us Here.

Functional Impairment Rating

If it is determined that you have a permanent work injury, then the company-authorized physician should evaluate you under the AMA Guides 5th Edition for a functional impairment rating also known as a permanent impairment rating.

Keep in mind that this is just a number from a book and often the percentage is much lower than the true impact the work injury has affected your life. If you think your permanent impairment rating is too low then before agreeing to a “settlement” or signing any paperwork, you should call our office at 641-792-3595 to learn more about how much compensation is fair in your case.

Contacting a Work Injury Lawyer in Iowa

If you are not yet ready to contact an Iowa work injury attorney but would like more information about Iowa work injuries then request a copy of Iowa Workers’ Compensation Guide- An Insider’s Guide to Work Injuries. Our book includes the Iowa Injured Workers’ Bill of Rights and much more.

We offer our book at no cost to you because we have seen too many hardworking medical providers and other Iowa workers get taken advantage of by greedy insurance companies. There is no risk and your information will remain confidential so claim your copy now before you make a costly mistake in your work injury case. Finally, you can learn about Iowa work injury laws in the comfort of your own home. If you need immediate assistance, call us at 641-792-3595 (phones are answered 24/7) or Contact Us Here.

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Corey Walker
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With over 28 years legal experience, Corey has been recognized for his work as an injury attorney.