Workers Compensation in Iowa
You aren’t alone if you wonder how workers comp works. Workers’ compensation is a type of insurance that provides wage and medical benefits to people who have become ill or injured while at work. The extent of workers’ comp coverage an employer is required to carry is governed by Iowa state law. Thus, in trying to figure out how workers comp works, it helps to understand the laws on the books in the state where the business operates. If the injury or illness a worker sustains is eligible for compensation, the insurance carrier should help ease the financial burden the illness or injury created on the worker. Learn some of the basic principles of Iowa workers’ compensation insurance and how the process works.
Workers Compensation Statistics in Iowa?
According to the most recent data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, private employers in Iowa reported 35,900 nonfatal workplace incidents in 2018. In 2019, manufacturing companies had the highest number of work injuries in The Hawkeye State. Sprains, strains, and tears represent 33.4% of the cases in this data from the U.S. Department of Labor. Employees in Iowa lost 295,180 working days in 2019 alone due to getting hurt on the job.
How Does Workers Comp Work in Iowa?
There is a standard practice to follow when going through the Iowa workers’ compensation process. Unfortunately, it begins with you getting sick or injured on the job. The circumstances surrounding the incident that led to the injury are especially crucial. The injury had to occur during the course of your regular work duties. It could also occur while you were performing a special task at the request of your boss.
While Iowa requires most employers to have workers’ compensation insurance, some may not comply with the law. Benefits include reimbursement for medical costs (including lost wages and mileage) and disability compensation up to 80% of your weekly take-home pay. Many employers have an exempt status for workers, but the details are intricate, and questions about specific industries should go to a Workers’ Compensation Compliance Administrator.
The steps you take immediately following a workplace incident in Iowa are critical for purposes of filing a claim for compensation. Follow the following steps to preserve your rights and learn how workers comp works.
Get Medical Attention
After you get injured or feel ill, the first step is to see a doctor. Don’t delay receiving help from an Iowa healthcare professional. This could not only jeopardize your health, but you run the risk of missing time-sensitive deadlines in the workers’ compensation process.
Even if you believe that your injury is minor, get a proper medical report detailing the extent of the damage and how it occurred. This is the first step in the workers’ compensation claim process. Absent a medical report, your employer cannot file a claim with the insurance carrier.
When dealing with a job-related illness, the symptoms and diagnosis may not happen right away. You may find yourself attending regular checkups and testing for weeks or months before a doctor finally associates your illness with your job. All of your medical records will become the foundation from which the workers’ comp carrier will launch its investigation. Your doctor may make the determination that the illness is the result of your work conditions or aggravated by them. Once they do, see your human resources representative to file a workers’ compensation claim.
File a First Report of Injury
Once you have a medical diagnosis relating your illness or injury to your job, you must file a claim with your employer. This is the next important phase of how Iowa workers comp works.
Iowa gives employees injured on the job two years to apply for workers’ compensation. Any attempts to obtain benefits after that time will likely result in a denial. After seeking medical attention, report the injury to your employer. If a work injury has kept an employee down for longer than three days, the employer and its insurance company must file a First Report of Injury within four working days. After you have your case number, you will need to e-file documentation relevant to your injury to the Iowa Division of Workers’ Compensation.
The first report of an on the job injury or illness will provide the workers’ compensation insurance carrier with the details of the events leading up to the injury. In this report, you will provide your physical injuries, the medical treatment you received and the facilities that provided it. It’s always a good idea to submit a copy of the doctor’s report with the report of injury.
Your employer should furnish you with information about the claims process. The adjuster or insurance carrier representative may want to speak to you at some point about the incident and any possible witnesses to the event. If an employee does not file for additional benefits within three years of receiving their last payment, that may result in a denial of their claim.
Why You Should Hire a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
In learning how Iowa workers comp works, many people believe that the injury claims process is straightforward. While this may be the case in some instances, in others, it may be more of a hassle. For instance, your employer may question whether you were hurt on the clock or on your own time. The company may also start to call into question the extent of your injury. There may even arise pay disputes and long-term care dictated by the doctor. Don’t question how workers comp works and risk losing your claim. Hire an Iowa workers’ comp lawyer and ensure you have an advocate to fight for your rights as a victim.
Work With an Experienced Local Lawyer in Iowa
Your health and wellbeing need to come first. If you are hurt while working or find out an illness you are suffering is the result of your job, you will want to seek compensation. Since the workers’ compensation claims process may be tricky, you should consider getting a local attorney well versed in how to deal with it. We can even help you connect with an attorney across Iowa state lines. They can guide you while you continue to learn how workers comp works.
Submit a request online or call us today at (866) 345-6784 to get in touch with an experienced lawyer in your area!