The following information includes frequently asked workers’ compensation questions. The answers stated are general in nature and are not intended to apply to every work injury situation. Each case is different and carries its own set of circumstances which must be taken into consideration by competent legal counsel. By contacting Keokuk, Iowa work injury Attorney James P. Hoffman, you can receive a personal consultation regarding your specific on-the-job injury case.
Seek emergency medical attention if needed and immediately report your injury to your employer. An injured worker must report any accident to their employer or any employee of the employer who is in a supervisory capacity (foreman, superintendent, company nurse, etc.). Notification must be done within a set amount of time as set by state law. Most states require that this be done within two to 30 days following an injury.
If an injury occurs over time (for example, a breathing problem or carpel tunnel syndrome), you must report your condition soon after you discover and realize that it is caused by your work. Your employer will provide you with a claim form on which you must describe your injury and how, when, and where it occurred. Make sure you save copies of all correspondence with your employer, its insurance carrier and your doctor concerning your workers’ comp claim.
Workers’ compensation is only for injuries or illnesses that occur due to employment. State Disability is for injuries or illnesses that are not work related. You can file a State Disability claim, but you cannot be paid both workers’ compensation and State Disability for the same period of time unless under certain circumstances your workers’ compensation temporary disability rate is less than State Disability, then you may be paid the difference. If your employer’s insurance company denies or delays payment, you may be able to receive State Disability temporarily.
Is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) considered a “work-related” injury under the Act?
Yes. The courts have ruled that “although Carpal Tunnel Syndrome develops gradually and not the result of a sudden mishap,” it is still considered a work-related injury.
If I am out of work due to an on-the-job injury, does my employer or its
insurance company have to pay me the same amount I made when I was working?
No. Your “compensation rate” is 2/3 of your average weekly gross wages. Your average weekly wage is the average of your gross pay over the fifty-two weeks prior to your injury in the employment in which you were injured. In other words, if you had worked as a truck driver for ABC Trucking for the past eighteen months, your gross wages for the fifty-two weeks immediately preceding your injury would be added up, divided by the number of weeks worked, and then reduced to 2/3 to determine your “compensation rate.” However, if you are a highly paid employee, your compensation rate is limited to the annual maximum.
Typically, no. Workers’ compensation exists both as a way to benefit injured workers and as a way to protect employers. Workers’ compensation is a no-fault insurance system, meaning an employee can receive benefits regardless who was at fault, in exchange for not suing the employer.
However, if you are injured because of reckless or intentional action on the part of your employer, or the establishment in which you were employed was hazardous due to negligence on the part of other workers or the employer, you can bypass the workers’ compensation system and sue your employer in court for a full range of damages, including punitive damages, pain and suffering and mental anguish. You may also choose to sue in court if your injury was caused by someone other than your employer such as a visitor or outside contractor, or if a defective product caused your injuries.
Workers’ compensation covers most, but not all, on-the-job injuries. The workers’ compensation system is designed to provide benefits to injured workers, regardless if the injury is caused by the employer or the employee. But there are limits. Injuries that occur due to employee intoxication or drug use are not covered by workers’ compensation. Coverage may also be denied in situations involving self-inflicted injuries; i.e., an employee who starts a fight, injuries suffered while a worker was committing a serious crime, or injuries suffered when an employee’s conduct violated company policy.
Most workers are eligible for workers’ compensation coverage, but every state excludes some workers. Exclusions often include: business owners, independent contractors and casual workers, domestic employees in private homes, farm workers, maritime workers, railroad employees and unpaid volunteers. Federal government employees are also excluded from state workers compensation coverage, but they can receive workers’ compensation benefits under a separate federal law. In addition, some states do not require workers’ compensation coverage of employers having less than a designated number of employees, such as less than three.
You should hire a lawyer if one or more of these issues are present in your case:
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured on the job or suffered wrongful death as the result of an on-the-job accident in Lee County, Iowa or anywhere within the State of Iowa, call Iowa workers’ compensation Attorney James P. Hoffman today at (866) 435-0728, or complete the contact form provided on this site to begin your consultation with a dedicated Iowa work injury trial attorney. Your initial consultation on workers’ compensation matters is free.
The determination of the need for legal services and the choice of a lawyer are extremely important decisions and should not be based solely upon advertisements or self-proclaimed expertise. This disclosure is required by rule of the Supreme Court of Iowa.