W.K. contacted the Pothitakis Law Firm after sustaining an injury while working for a local manufacturing facility.The Claimant sustained an injury to his low back while bending over at work. W.K. was sent to the company physicians who felt that his condition would resolve, and he would be able to return to work without restrictions. In Iowa, the insurance carrier and employer direct medical care for the employee. The insurance carrier and employer choose the doctors that an injured worker goes to for his care. Choice of care can be objected to by the Claimant for certain reasons. Further, a Claimant can obtain a second opinion at the employer’s expense in certain situations.Despite the opinion of the Claimant’s initial treatment specialist that his condition would resolve and that he did not have a permanent injury, the Claimant and Pothitakis Law Firm pushed for additional care. The Claimant was authorized to see a specialist at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. At University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, the Claimant was referred to the Pain Clinic and completed the two weeks Spine Rehabilitation Program. The treating doctors at the Spine Rehabilitation program indicated that the Claimant’s condition was permanent and that he would have to follow restrictions as a result of the permanent low back injury.
After the Claimant completed his treatment at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, the employer indicated that they had work available within his restrictions. The Claimant and Pothitakis Law Firm objected to the work offered on the basis that it was beyond the Claimant’s capabilities given his injury. The Claimant was ultimately terminated from his employment position.
Prior to hearing, the parties participated in a mediation, which is a meeting with the parties where they attempt to settle the case. At the mediation, the insurance carrier offered $25,000 to settle the case in full. Pothitakis Law Firm and the Claimant agreed that the offer was not sufficient and proceeded to hearing.
In a Decision entered in late 2010, the Claimant was found to have lost 50% of his ability to work entitling him to a total award of in excess of $150,000. The Claimant’s medical also remains open and the responsibility of the defendants. Again, the injured worker’s willingness to stand up for what is right and to pursue his claim through hearing resulted in a favorable award.