Iowa Workers' Compensation & Work Injury: Basic Issues to Look Out For
If you've been injured on the Job in Iowa, then you'll want to get informed on the basics of Iowa Workers Compensation Laws. Here are some of the most common issues that injured claimants run in to.
Q. Do I get to choose my own doctors?
A. No, generally under Iowa law your employer or its insurance company is allowed to choose your doctors (company doctor), physical therapists and other medical providers. There are some limited exceptions to this rule such as if their doctors have nothing to offer, but you find a doctor who does have medical care that may be beneficial. However, you will most likely require the services of a qualified Iowa work injury attorney to ensure that the proper procedures are followed.
Q. If I am taken off work, who is going to pay me?
A. If the company doctor has taken you off work or placed restrictions upon you that your employer cannot provide work to you within, then you should receive a weekly workers' compensation check known as TTD- temporary partial disability. These benefits can continue so long as you are either completely off work or your employer does not have work for you.
Although, once the doctors have said that you have reached MMI- maximum medical improvement then these benefits will change to PPD- permanent partial disability.
Q. How is my weekly workers compensation check calculated?
A. It depends upon how you are paid and if you are a full-time or part-time employee. If you are paid by the hour then generally it will be based upon your AWW- average weekly wage for a period of 13 weeks prior to your work injury. The wages included use your overtime hours and shift differential pay, but not your overtime hourly rate.
Q. What should I receive for a settlement?
A. One of the biggest misconceptions about the Iowa compensation system for injured workers is that there should be a settlement at the end. In reality, your employer or their insurance company is supposed to ask your doctors if you have what is known as an impairment rating.
Depending upon the type and location of your injury (unscheduled/industrial- back, neck, shoulder, etc. versus scheduled member- arm, hand, leg, foot, etc.) will in part determine how much permanent compensation you should receive. Keep in mind that for most injuries they should pay you your impairment rating without you settling your case. Also, in industrial disability and Second Injury Fund cases your impairment rating is only one of many factors to determine how much you should receive in compensation. If they want you to sign paperwork in order to obtain your impairment rating then you should consult with an experienced Iowa workers compensation attorney before doing anything else.