If you have been involved in an accident or experienced an injury at work, you may wonder if you are obligated to use the Iowa workers’ compensation system. To find your personal answer to that question, you need to ask yourself a few more. Was it a minor injury that didn’t require days away from work or a loss of pay? If the answer is yes, then you probably don’t need to worry about doing anything at all. Did you suffer a serious injury that resulted in an extended time off work and a reduction in income? Do you have lasting physical limitations or permanent scars? Do you want compensation for these injuries? If your answer to any of those questions is yes, then you do need help, and that help is most likely to come from the workers’ compensation system, though there are few exceptions. Here, we take a look at employee options after a work injury in Iowa.
In general, if you sustain an injury at work, you are subject to the jurisdiction of the Iowa Workers’ Compensation Commissioner. This means that if you are hurt performing duties related to your job, you are required to pursue care and compensation through the workers’ compensation system. Employers are required by law to carry workers’ compensation insurance, which pays for the medical treatment and lost wages of the employee related to the work injury. This is separate from any health insurance your employer might offer, and typically a private health insurer will refuse to pay for a workers’ compensation eligible claim. If you are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits, you cannot typically pursue a claim outside the system.
There are cases, however, in which it is possible to use other means rather than the state workers’ compensation program to obtain care and compensation. In some cases, it is possible to bring a legal suit against responsible parties. While the workers’ compensation system is intended to prevent lawsuits against an employer, there are certain exceptions and other third-party situations. These can include cases in which injuries were caused by:
In addition, there are times when a workers’ compensation claim is not possible, even if the injury was sustained at work. In Iowa, there are a few common reasons why a work injury claim would be disallowed. You may not be eligible to file a claim if:
While every situation is unique, workers’ compensation is typically an employee’s only and most reliable source of care and income after a work-related injury. If you have suffered an injury on the job—even if you are not sure if you are entitled to benefits—contact the Pothitakis Law Firm to learn more about how an attorney may be able to help. Our experienced legal team has helped many Iowa workers obtain the care and compensation they deserved after a wide variety of accidents and injuries. Take a moment to fill out the contact form on this page today, and you will hear back from a member of our team who can answer your questions.