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Worker’s Foot Injury Case Obtains Impressive Results

December 14, 2017By Niko Pothitakis
We represented an employee who was injured when her foot was run over by a forklift. The injury resulted in fractures which required surgery. Under the Iowa Workers’ Compensation statutes, if the injury was just to the Claimant’s foot, her entitlement would be her impairment rating percentage loss multiplied by 150 weeks. Under Iowa law, a foot, if 100% impaired, is worth 150 weeks.With respect to this employee, she was given a 50% loss of use to her foot, which would entitle her to 50% of 150 weeks, or 75 weeks of benefits. The Workers’ Compensation Insurance Carrier contended this was all that she was entitled to receive, which would have amounted to approximately $25,000.When Pothitakis Law Firm, P.C., took on the case we realized that the Workers’ Compensation Insurance Carrier was incorrectly calculating the benefits that were due the injured employee. Further, even using the Defendants’ calculations, they failed to pay the benefits in a timely manner.

Pothitakis Law Firm, P.C., filed a Workers’ Compensation petition and scheduled the matter for hearing and sought additional benefits. Pothitakis Law Firm, P.C., contended that because of the Claimant’s foot injury, she was limping which resulted in pain and discomfort in her back. Pothitakis Law Firm, P.C., was able to obtain opinions from physicians who confirmed the same. The importance of these medical opinions was that the case was no longer treated as simply a foot injury but was treated as a foot injury that also caused a back condition. By obtaining medical evidence that the employee’s injury was beyond just a foot injury, the focus was no longer on the extent of the foot injury but was on how the injury affected the Claimant’s ability to earn a wage in the competitive labor market.

If accepted by the judge, this would result in significantly more benefits for the injured employee.

In addition, because the benefits that the Workers’ Compensation carrier did pay were late, Pothitakis Law Firm, P.C., sought what is called penalty benefits on behalf of the employee. Penalty benefits are damages that can be awarded if the Workers’ Compensation carrier fails to pay benefits when due.

The case went to trial and was presented to a Deputy Workers’ Compensation Commissioner for a decision. Pothitakis Law Firm, P.C., and the client were extremely satisfied with the decision in that it awarded the Claimant 250 weeks of benefits which would total in excess of $84,000. In addition, the Workers’ Compensation Insurance Carrier was ordered to pay the employee $7,000 for failing to pay the initial benefits when due.

Not being happy with the Decision, the Workers’ Compensation Insurance Carrier filed an appeal to the Workers’ Compensation Insurance Commissioner asking that the Decision be overturned. After submitting briefs, Pothitakis Law Firm, P.C., was successful in maintaining the Decision by the appeal being denied.

As illustrated, Workers’ Compensation cases can be very complicated and it’s very important to speak with a competent Workers’ Compensation attorney when you sustain any injury at work.

Awarded: $90,000