A pressing issue Iowa workers face is workplace violence, which is why standards are required to maintain a safer work environment. Professionals, such as nurses, social workers, and emergency responders, are often at risk of harm. A recently introduced federal standard would help give Iowa’s workforce the protection they need.

Is Workplace Violence on the Rise?

Many healthcare and social service employees are exposed to harm and are without sufficient protection against workplace violence. The numbers reflect a serious problem when it comes to violence: The American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) found that 450 homicides resulted directly or indirectly from workplace violence in 2017. Additionally, the organization determined that there was an 80% increase in serious workplace violence injuries for healthcare and social service employees in the last decade.

Healthcare and social service workers are also 4.7 times more likely to sustain injuries as a result of workplace violence than other employees. Women are most frequently affected, with female workers harmed in two out of three workplace violence events.

With the growing epidemic of workplace violence and subsequent work-related injuries, it’s important for businesses to take the necessary steps to protect their employees.

A New Proposed Standard to Prevent Workplace Violence

The AFL-CIO introduced new legislation that would help make the workplace safer for many vulnerable employees. The Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act would put into place a new Occupational Safety and Health Administration standard to minimize the risk of workplace violence.

The standard would specifically work to reduce and prevent injuries to workers that are serious, life-altering, and foreseeable in nursing homes, social service facilities, and hospitals. Once implemented, health care and social service sectors would be required to implement an actionable plan to keep workers consistently safe from violence. In turn, protecting workers more effectively would help keep patients safer in many of these environments.

Taking Steps to Reduce Workplace Violence

In introducing the new standard, the AFL-CIO hopes that workers will have a chance to remain safer on the job while patients benefit from a safer environment. While more work is needed to significantly reduce workplace violence, the legislation is a step in the right direction in giving workers sufficient protection in particularly dangerous sectors.

In Iowa, eight workers filed federal complaints against the Iowa Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) claiming that the agency practiced gross negligence that put workers at risk of contracting and spreading COVID-19. The workers represent employees in various industries, including health care, meatpacking, nursing homes, transportation, and others.

An Alleged Failure to Protect Workers

With the help of civil rights groups, the workers filing the complaint against Iowa OSHA want to force the agency to take steps to protect workers from potentially deadly working conditions. These workers and groups filed a Complaint About State Program Administration (CASPA) in the hope that it would encourage federal OSHA to investigate the alleged negligent practices of its Iowa branch.

The complaint, filed in November 2020, specifically claims that several Iowa workplaces failed to put proper protections in place for workers and that Iowa OSHA failed to investigate complaints regarding those workplaces. Iowa OSHA has previously come under fire for failing to investigate potentially life-threatening conditions that could result in construction accidents and other incidents.

The groups filing the CASPA complaint include the American Friends Service Committee Iowa, the ACLU of IOWA, the Iowa AFL-CIO, Forward Latino, and others. In addition to groups in Iowa, the Indiana, Illinois, and Iowa Foundation for Fair Contracting (IIIFFC) are also involved.

Violating Rules Regarding On-Site Inspections

Iowa OSHA has specific rules in place for conducting on-site inspections. The agency is required to conduct an investigation if:

  • A formal complaint that a worker has signed contains allegations of dangerous working conditions that may lead to serious physical harm
  • A formal or informal complaint submitted by a nonworker or unsigned by a worker claims that working conditions pose an imminent danger

Despite setting these rules, the agency has failed to provide a satisfactory response to previous complaints about dangerous workplaces. In October 2020, workers had filed a total of 148 complaints around COVID-19, 36 of which were formal complaints. A mere five of these complaints led Iowa OSHA to conduct an on-site investigation, while the others were simply closed and dismissed.

While Iowa OSHA wound up inspecting seven other meatpacking plants, the agency only took this course of action when the media or state lawmakers encouraged it.

With the issuing of this complaint, workers in Iowa hope to make sure that OSHA does its job in keeping workers consistently safe, whether from COVID-19 or other potential dangers.

When you’re hurt in a serious work accident, you need workers comp benefits from your employer to recover the costs you’ve suffered. But that may be easier said than done. That’s especially true if your employer lists you as an independent contractor. They may deny your workers comp claim on these grounds. 

Luckily, your lawyer can step in and help you get the benefits you’re due for your injuries

Independent Contractor Status Can Hurt Your Benefits 

Independent contractors are not considered employees when it comes to workers comp benefits. Because of this, you may be ineligible for workers comp benefits. But what if you’re certain you’re an employee? 

Unfortunately, many employers misclassify employees as independent contractors as a ploy to save money. They may try to avoid taxes or paying for workers comp benefits by considering you an independent contractor. Luckily, you have options to get your workers comp benefits to protect your health and finances. 

How a Workers Comp Lawyer Can Help 

When you’ve been denied workers comp benefits, it can be tough to fight back and get the benefits you’re due. You’re still injured, and you probably don’t have experience in workers comp law. Luckily, a respected workers comp lawyer in Iowa will fight for justice in your name. 

If your employer has claimed you’re an independent contractor, your lawyer could help you prove them wrong. Independent contractors usually work on their own terms, without the same rules and restrictions as an employee. Your lawyer will help you gather evidence showing you are or were an employee based on your work responsibilities and other evidence. 

Your Workers Comp Claim Process After a Denial 

So what can you do when you’re denied on these grounds? Your workers comp lawyer will need to step in to help you overcome the denial and get compensated fairly for your losses. 

First, you and your lawyer will need to review the reason for your denial and gather evidence that disproves it. Once you have the evidence you need, you can request a hearing for your claim. Your lawyer will present the evidence before the insurance company and your employer for your benefits. If they still refuse to compensate you, your lawyer may suggest pursuing a formal hearing. 

This formal hearing is held before the Iowa Workers Compensation Commissioner. The commissioner will review your evidence and your employer’s evidence, then choose to appeal or deny your claim. 

Connect with a Workers Comp Lawyer to Seek Your Max Benefits 

If your employer states that you’re considered an independent contractor, they may be looking for an opportunity to avoid paying for your losses. Because of this, you may need help from an experienced workers comp lawyer serving your Iowan community.

At Pothitakis Law Firm, PC, we know how tough it may be to seek workers comp benefits, tha’s why our expert legal team is here to will work diligently in pursuit of your benefits. Find help when you call 319-754-6400 or when you fill out the online contact form below.

When you’re hurt in a work-related accident, you may be ready for your workers comp benefits to make your recovery easier. But you may not have gotten your benefits. You were denied workers comp, and now you’re suffering for that loss.

You have a chance to change that decision with a workers comp lawyer. Know what to expect at your Iowa workers comp hearing, and you may be able to dismiss that denial and get benefits during your physical recovery.

Presentation of Evidence

Your Iowa workers comp hearing may focus on proving the reason for your workers comp denial was wrong. For example, the reason you were denied may surround a lack of evidence. In these cases, you and your workers comp lawyer may seek more medical exams and second opinions from trusted doctors.

If you’re worried about presenting complex evidence, don’t worry—your workers comp lawyer can present the evidence for your claim. They have experience with technical evidence and expert witnesses. By letting your workers comp lawyer prepare the evidence for your hearing, you have a chance to focus on your injuries and your healing.

Be Prepared for Questions

Proving you’re due workers comp benefits isn’t about the evidence alone. Your employer’s lawyer may ask you questions about your work accident and the details of your claim. They may also try to trip you up, to prove you’re not telling the truth about your claim.

Your lawyer can help you prepare for this portion of the hearing. Answering the question as truthfully as possible is often the best way to settle your claim. Your lawyer can guide you through what you should say and what details to include in your statements.

Getting Your Workers Comp Benefits

The key part of your Iowa workers comp hearing for you may be the decision on your workers comp benefits. You need that support to comfortably recover from your injuries, which may be severe. A deputy Iowa Workers’ Compensation Commissioner will preside over your claim and decide whether you’re due workers comp benefits.

Luckily, your hearing can successfully wrap up your claim. The commissioner will approve or deny your claim during the hearing. If you’re approved, you’ll then receive the workers comp benefits you’re due for your work-related accident.

Talk to a Lawyer Before Your Iowa Workers Comp Hearing

Even if you think you have an open-and-shut case, your workers comp benefits aren’t always easy to get. You may need to take your claim to a hearing, where you and your lawyer will present your claim in front of a workers compensation commissioner. But what can you expect at your Iowa workers comp hearing?

If you’re inexperienced in the courtroom, you may need help from the lawyers at Pothitakis Law Firm, PC. They have the tools you need to get the workers comp benefits you’re due. To learn more about our services, start with a free consultation when you call 319-754-6400 or fill out the online contact form below.

When you’re hurt on the job, getting workers comp benefits can be easier said than done. You may be worried about more than a denial letter, too. You may be worried that your boss will retaliate against you for filing a workers comp claim. 

While it’s illegal in Iowa to retaliate against someone for seeking workers compensation, employers don’t always follow the law to the letter. Because of this, you may need to learn more about employer retaliation and your Iowa workers comp rights. That information can help you get the right lawyer on your case to protect your rights as a worker. 

What If My Employer Retaliates Against Me? 

In Iowa, it’s illegal to terminate employment just because you filed a workers comp claim. That means if your employer fired you, you may have grounds for a lawsuit. You have a right to your workers comp benefits when you’re hurt on the job. 

Your employer may have also broken the law if they demoted you, cut your pay, or took disciplinary action against you. If the action is unfounded and based on the fact that you were seeking workers comp, they could face penalties for their actions. 

If you believe your employer has retaliated against you, your workers comp lawyer in Iowa can help you gather evidence for your case. You’ll need to prove you’re due workers comp benefits, that your employer took action against you, and that your employer reacted to your workers comp claim. 

Gathering Evidence for Your Workers Comp Claim

If you have grounds to file a lawsuit against your employer, gathering evidence may be your first step to getting justice after your employer retaliates against you. The evidence you need to prove your claim may depend on the details of your claim and why you believe your employer is acting inappropriately. 

For example, your employer may have said something directly to you or another person at your place of employment. Video evidence, written statements, and eyewitnesses can all help your claim succeed. 

If you’re unsure what evidence to use for your claim, your workers comp lawyer can help. They have the tools you need to gather evidence that helps your claim, and they can present that evidence in the courtroom against your employer. 

Protect Your Iowa Workers Comp Rights with a Lawyer

When you’re hurt on the job, you may need your Iowa workers comp benefits in order to recover quickly and completely. It’s hard to recover from a serious injury without that financial support. Unfortunately, your employer may do more than deny your claim. They may retaliate against you, trying to protect profits and avoid paying for your loss. 

At Pothitakis Law Firm, PC, we’re prepared to fight for the workers comp benefits you’re due. We’re also here to help workers who have been retaliated against take legal action to recover. If you believe your employer illegally retaliated against you, call 319-754-6400 or complete the online contact form below to learn more about your options during a free consultation. 

When you’re hurt at work, you need medical care as soon as possible. That medical care may mean time away from work, and you may be due workers comp benefits for your losses. So how much time do you have to file a workers comp claim in Iowa? 

Your time to file is limited, so it’s important not to hesitate on your claim. Luckily, an Iowa workers comp lawyer can help you file the right paperwork and act now. If you’re denied, your lawyer can also represent you in court and help you seek the benefits you’re due. 

Filing Your Workers Comp Claim

After your accident, you need to file your claim as soon as possible. In Iowa, you only have ninety days to file a claim for your workers comp benefits. If you don’t act in that time, you may be denied compensation, leaving you to pay for your losses on your own, putting financial strain on you and your family. 

But filing as soon as possible has other benefits. The sooner you go to the hospital and request workers compensation for your claim, the better chance you have of avoiding a dispute. If you wait for some time before filing your workers comp claim, the insurance company may claim your injuries were unrelated to the work accident, for example. 

What If I’m Denied IowaWorkers Comp Benefits? 

Once you’ve filed your Iowa workers comp claim, your employer has only a few days to file a claim with the insurance company. That means you should get an approval and your benefits within a few days, so you don’t have to worry about your medical expenses and time away from work. But what if that approval never comes? 

If you were denied workers compensation, or if your benefits were cut short, you have a chance to fight back. If you never received benefits, you have two years to file, while Iowa workers who receive some benefits have three years to file. If time has already passed since you were denied, you may need to speak with your workers comp lawyer about acting fast to get your workers compensation. 

You may need those benefits sooner rather than later, and your lawyer can help you act now and act quickly. Your lawyer can use this time to gather evidence and help you plan your hearing. 

Connect with a Workers Comp Lawyer to Act Now 

If you’ve been injured on the job, you may have grounds for seeking Iowa workers comp benefits. But how much time do you have to file a workers comp claim? Unfortunately, you may have less time than you’d like for your claim. 

Here’s the good news—the lawyers at Pothitakis Law Firm, PC can help you file your workers comp claim on time and dispute any denial as soon as possible. We also offer free consultations so you know what to expect before you file your claim. To work with a lawyer, reach out by calling 319-754-6400 or by completing the online contact form below. 

After a work accident, it can be difficult to recover from your injury. Everyone responds to injuries in different ways, and because of this, you may have some trouble getting the care you believe you need. In some cases, you may also feel unsatisfied with your workers comp doctor. Do you have options in this case? If you don’t get the right treatment and answers, you could be offered fewer benefits and even have to wait longer for them.

If you’re unhappy with your medical treatment, you may have options. Below are a few things you need to keep in mind when seeking a medical exam after your work-related accident. 

Who Chooses Your Workers Comp Doctor? 

When you’re seriously injured, your first instinct may be to turn to your usual doctor. They know your health record, and they may have better insight into your health. But your usual doctor may not be covered under your workers comp benefits. 

In Iowa, your employer gets to choose your doctor. Your employer is required to cover the expenses of the doctor they choose, rather than letting you choose your own doctor. While you’re not required to accept treatment from these doctors, your employer also isn’t required to cover the costs. But what if you’re not satisfied with your workers comp doctor? Luckily, your workers comp lawyer can help. 

Grounds for Choosing Your Own Doctor In Iowa

In some cases, you may be unhappy with the treatment you’ve gotten. For example, the doctor may have given you a lower impairment rating than you should receive. That means you may have to go back to work because the workers comp doctor said you were fine, even though you weren’t. That could lead to more pain and even a second injury. 

To avoid this, you and your workers comp lawyer may request a second opinion from your doctor of choice. Your employer may be required to cover these expenses, and it gives you a better chance to get a fair impairment rating and treatment. 

If you’re not sure how to request a second opinion, your workers compensation lawyer can help. They can help you communicate with your employer and their insurance company to get the treatment you deserve. 

Get the Right Doctor with a Workers Comp Lawyer’s Help 

If you’ve been injured in a work accident, you may have already spoken to your workers comp doctor. Unfortunately, you may also feel unsatisfied with them. So what happens if you’re not satisfied with your workers comp doctor? 

At Pothitakis Law Firm, PC, we understand how difficult it can be to get a fair impairment rating and seek the workers comp benefits you’re due. If you’re struggling to get the answers and assistance you need from your workers comp doctor, talk to a work compensation lawyer in Iowa who can help you get fair treatment.

Ready to get a second opinion? Start with a free legal consultation when you call 319-754-6400 or when you complete the online contact form below. 

For many Iowa workers, your job might require a lot of motion, exertion, and energy. Unfortunately, in doing your job, that could mean suffering a serious injury in the process. Now, you’re suffering from serious shoulder pain and you’re not sure where to start.

Fortunately, the right workers comp lawyer can help you understand what caused your injury and where to go from there. Depending on your situation, the cause will help your lawyer know what types of evidence to collect, which can put to rest any doubt the insurance provider might have.

When you need workers comp benefits for your pain, don’t hesitate to act. We’ll help you get the full benefits you need for your suffering.

Overexertion

In jobs that require moving heavy objects, overexerting yourself is a serious concern. It’s easy to underestimate the weight of a large box or trying to stop a stack of boxes from falling.  For example, you might have been stacking things, and they began to fall. To prevent injuries or damage, you tried to catch them, straining your shoulder in the process.

This can be a painful injury, and it can make it tough to work. Your shoulder may need rest to repair the damage to your muscles and surrounding tendons. Because of this, you might need work comp benefits to recover over time.

A Hard Fall

When we think of a fall, we often don’t think about the damage it can do. Many of us have slipped and fallen and earned little more than a bruised ego. Unfortunately, falling the wrong way can leave you seriously injured.

If you landed wrong on your shoulder, for example, the damage can be serious. The trauma of hitting the floor or ground can damage your shoulder, even breaking the bones. That can require physical therapy, setting the bone, and even surgery in severe cases.

Your Machinery

A repetitive motion injury can come by making the same motion over and over, and that’s what we usually think about when talking about these injuries. However, working with heavy machinery can also damage your shoulder.

Some heavy machinery might cause steady, constant vibrations, which can damage the shoulder over time. With these injuries, you might have noticed, after a few years on the job, that your shoulder aches after using these machines. Unfortunately, some Iowa workers may not realize that these machines are damaging their shoulders over time. By then, the damage has already been done.

Contact an Attorney About Your Shoulder Injury

If you’ve suffered a shoulder injury, going back to work for weeks or even months might be impossible. You’ll need to contact your employer about your benefits, but you might be concerned about how to get them. First, you’ll need to determine what caused the shoulder injury in order to file your claim.

Although there are several common causes of on-the-job shoulder injuries, your lawyer can help. At Pothitakis Law Firm, PC, we can help you gather evidence about what caused your injury. From there, we’ll help you report your injury, negotiate your benefits, and appeal a denial, if necessary.

Get help for your shoulder injury by starting with a free claim consult before you agree to or sign anything. To get started, reach out by calling 319-754-6400 or by completing the online form below.

Although you might have been injured in a work accident, your injuries might not be severe enough to leave you completely unable to work. The damage is permanent, but it doesn’t stop you from working. You should still receive workers comp benefits, but how long do permanent partial disability benefits last in Iowa?

You should have coverage that meets your unique needs. If you’re concerned about the amount of disability benefits you’ll receive, you’ll need to calculate the total value of your benefits. If you believe you’re receiving less from your work comp than you should, reach out for help from an experienced attorney.

Maximum Benefits in Iowa

When you’re injured, you might be able to receive certain workers comp benefits to cover partial disability. Partial disability means you’re returning in a diminished capacity, and these benefits should continue until you’ve reached maximum medical improvement. When an injury occurs to a specific location, these benefits have a predetermined schedule, or time limit, to how long you’ll be covered.

For those suffering a permanent partial disability, you’ll receive up to 500 weeks of benefits for your suffering. However, each injury type will have a different worth, which your employer’s insurance company will calculate.

This partial disability benefit should cover the time you’re healing and on light duty. If you’re transitioning into a less strenuous position, you may receive your compensation while you’re unable to return to work. If you’re not sure what your maximum benefits are for your injury, you’ll need to speak to a lawyer about your work comp benefits and their total value.

Getting Benefits for Your Needs

In some cases, you might feel as if you’re not getting the benefits you need for your job injuries. You likely won’t receive maximum benefits if you didn’t experience a full loss of use, so the insurance provider might only give you a certain percentage of what your claim is worth.

For example, let’s say you lost some use of your thumb. For a full loss of use of your thumb, you could receive sixty weeks of permanent partial disability benefits. However, any loss of use doesn’t mean you’re automatically entitled to sixty weeks.

For example, the insurer might determine that you only lost half the use of your thumb, which means you’ll receive thirty weeks of benefits for your loss. This can mean a huge difference in the funds you need to continue supporting yourself and your family. If you believe your partial disability benefits were improperly calculated, enlist the help of a work comp lawyer.

A Lawyer Can Help You Maximize Your Benefits

When you’re having difficulties securing partial disability benefits, you might need a lawyer from Pothitakis Law Firm, PC for your claim. We understand how difficult even a partial disability can be to recover from, and we know that it can often be overwhelming to secure the full benefits you deserve.

That’s where our attorneys can step in. Starting with a free consultation, we’ll work to understand your unique situation and explain how we can help you overcome any disputes. When you’re ready to get started, give us a call at 319-754-6400 or fill out the online form below.

When you’re injured at work, you expect that your medical bills should be covered, as well as any lost wages while you’re unable to work. If your employer offers work comp insurance, they should be responsible for the expenses you’ve incurred. Unfortunately, you might have already applied and received a denial.

If you’ve been denied work comp benefits, you might be understandably confused and frustrated. Your family is already feeling the strain, so it’s important to appeal your claim quickly. For that, you need to know why you were denied. When it comes to an Iowa work comp denial, are you entitled to an explanation?

An experienced and highly qualified lawyer can review your injury, claim, and denial letter. Then, they can represent you throughout the appeals process, so you can focus on your recovery.

Your Reason for Denial

First, make sure that the reason for your denial is listed on your denial letter. Insurance companies are required to list this, and it should be your first step to appealing your claim and getting the workers comp benefits you deserve.

Insurers are required to include your denial reason, and that information is critical to your appeal. For example, if your benefits were denied because you didn’t provide enough documentation regarding your work injury, then your appeal can include that necessary information.

If you don’t see a reason for your denial listed on your denial letter, speak to an attorney. They can ensure your rights are protected.

Fighting Back after a Denial

When you’ve been denied and were given an explanation, your next step is to appeal. Depending on the type of denial you’ve received, your workers comp denial attorney will address the individual reasons for your denial.

The first step of an appeal is to speak with your employer and insurer in an informal meeting to discuss your injury. This meeting will be your first chance to show that you were seriously injured and should have been compensated properly.

If they continue to refuse a settlement with you, your attorney can then schedule a hearing with the workers compensation commission. The commission will hear out your appeal, and then decide whether your case is eligible for workers comp benefits. If you don’t receive your benefits at this point, your lawyer can help you schedule a second hearing, giving you a chance to fight back and get the appeal you need.

A Lawyer Will Protect Your Rights

A work accident can leave you in a difficult, confusing place. You’re not sure who to turn, and now that you’ve received an Iowa work comp denial, are you entitled to an explanation? Fortunately, the answer is yes, and a lawyer can help you detangle the work comp appeals process.

At Pothitakis Law Firm, PC, we know that it can be difficult and frustrating to receive a denial letter for a reasonable benefits request. You were injured while on the job, and you deserve benefits to aid you through recovery. We can help, starting with a free consultation.

Ready to speak to a lawyer about your claim? Call 319-754-6400 or complete the online form below.