As one of the preeminent workers’ compensation law firms in Davenport, Iowa, Soper Leddin Law Firm, P.C., gets many questions from workers about how to proceed with filing a claim for Iowa workers’ compensation benefits. Here is a general procedural guideline for getting the benefits you are entitled to.
The Iowa Work Comp Process:
After suffering an accident on the job or getting diagnosed with a work-related injury or disability, your first step should be to report the incident or diagnosis to your supervisor. Your employer should keep a clear and accurate record of the incident and be ready to make the report available to the workers’ compensation insurance provider, as required.
Seek Approved Medical Attention
You are entitled to receive paid medical treatment from an approved workers’ compensation doctor or medical provider. Make sure your first appointment is with a doctor who is approved to provide treatment. This will not necessarily be your own primary care physician.
Follow Your Doctor’s Orders
Stick to the doctor’s prescribed treatment plan, including prescription medications. If you are unsure of the treatment, you will have the option to move to another doctor, as long as he or she is approved for providing treatment for workers’ compensation claims. You should expect to remain off the job until your approved doctor signs off on a report indicating that you have reached maximum medical recovery (MMR). Understandably, you may be tempted to return to your job. However, returning to work before getting signed approval can result in additional medical problems and make it difficult to negotiate a settlement for additional paid treatment and wage benefits you are entitled to. But be careful; some doctors will sign off on the MMR report too soon, forcing you to return to work before you are fully recovered.
Wage benefits are paid at 66 percent of your average weekly earnings looking back over the 52-week period prior to your injury. The types and amount of wage benefits depend upon the severity of your injury or diagnosis and your capacity to return to work. While you are out of work during medical recovery, you can expect a weekly check that is equal to 66 percent of your average weekly earnings dating back 52 weeks from the date of your disability. When you are able to return to work, it may be at a reduced capacity and reduced wages. You can expect a weekly check equal to 66 percent of the difference between your average weekly earnings and the reduced earnings. If you suffer a permanent disability that means you can no longer work or will have permanent reduced earnings, you have the option of negotiating a lump sum settlement. In many cases, the settlement will be based on a schedule of disabilities and disfigurement published annually by the Iowa Division of Workers’ Compensation.
If your initial claim is denied, you have the right to appeal through a formal process with the Division of Workers’ Compensation. Unsuccessful appeals can be further appealed through the courts.
Hire An Experienced Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
Why do you need an attorney even if your claim is legitimate? Many legitimate workers’ compensation claims are denied or delayed because the employer does not want to see the company’s workers’ compensation insurance premiums increased. In the case of permanent disability, the insurance provider will fight to negotiate the lowest settlement possible. It is important to have an experienced lawyer to make sure the reports and records are filed correctly and all filing deadlines are met. In addition, an experienced attorney will identify issues with your claim that may result in a denial or delay. Starting a relationship with an Iowa workers’ compensation law firm early in the process is also important in case you need to appeal your claim through the appeals process.
As Soon As Possible After Your Workplace Injury In Iowa Call Us to File Your Workers’ Compensation Claim
From our offices in Davenport, we represent injured workers throughout southeastern Iowa. Contact us by email or call us at 563-441-1616 to schedule a free consultation. We represent clients in workers’ compensation cases on a contingency fee basis. You pay no attorneys’ fees unless we help you recover the benefits you are entitled to.