What Does Workers’ Compensation Cover?

What does workers' compensation cover? When we think about workers compensation, we typically think about catastrophic injuries, tragic machinery-related accidents, and other dire situations. But not every work injury is so extreme. You might have gotten injured differently, and you may be unsure of whether you’re covered under workers' comp. Fortunately for many workers, Iowa legislation on workers' compensation is broad in terms of what is considered an injury. You may find that health conditions you wouldn’t expect workers' comp to cover are included. If you’re not sure your injury is covered by worker's compensation benefits, you may be surprised that the following injuries are all covered. A workers' compensation attorney can help you determine whether you’re covered and maximize the financial award that you receive.  

What Does Workers' Compensation Cover for Stress-Related Injuries?

While many of us downplay the risks and pains that physical stress can cause, it can weigh on you both physically and mentally. Constant use or motion can damage your body, causing conditions like the following:
  • Repetitive-motion injuries
  • Bursitis
  • Back injuries
These conditions worsen over time. Often, there’s not a sudden action that causes the injury. This can make it difficult to determine whether your injury happened on the job. With help from your doctor and attorney, however, you can get the evidence you need to show that your injury does relate to your position—meaning you’re eligible for workers' comp benefits.

Does Workers' Compensation Cover Mental Health Problems? 

Does workers' compensation cover mental health problems? It depends. In some cases, you might have already been at risk for depression or anxiety. In others, you might have experienced something traumatic on the job and, while you’re physically uninjured or have healed, developed post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or a similar mental health condition. Any of these conditions could be caused by your work, and any of them could make it difficult to work your usual hours or at all. While there may be few or no physical signs of trauma, your work conditions might have been severe enough to cause these issues. While your employer and the workers' comp insurer may resist mental health-related work comp claims, a lawyer can help prove that your job is stressful enough to cause such a serious condition and that you deserve benefits.  

Aggravation of Pre-Existing Injuries

An injury caused by a pre-existing condition usually isn’t grounds for workers' comp. If you had a heart attack, for example, and you had a history of heart problems in your family, it’s likely that your heart attack was not work-related. However, you should receive workers' compensation for any aggravation of a health condition caused by your job. So, let’s say you already had issues with your blood pressure, but your job caused further strain on your heart, leading to your heart attack. In this case, you deserve work comp benefits. It won’t be easy to prove, but a lawyer can help you succeed.

Getting the Workers' Comp Benefits You Need

When you’re hurt or sick, it’s normal to wonder whether your condition will be covered at all by workers' compensation. While your condition might not be a direct effect of your work, it may be aggravated or indirectly affected by your job, and you should be compensated for that.  Having trouble getting compensation for your workplace injury or illness? There are many health conditions you wouldn’t expect workers' comp to cover, and yours may be one of them. But it’s not always easy to get your claim approved. A good attorney can help you file for benefits within the workers' compensation claim time limit. He or she can also help you if your employer disputes your workers' compensation claim.  If you’re having trouble with your claim, call a lawyer at Pothitakis Law Firm at (866) 753-4692. 
Photo of Niko Pothitakis
For the past 15 years Mr. Pothitakis has focused his practice on Workers Compensation and Personal Injury Cases. The firm has two locations, one being in Burlington, Iowa and the other in Keokuk, Iowa. Mr. Pothitakis works with many area unions and employee organizations to provide advice, assistance, and guidance as it relates to employment issues. Mr. Pothitakis provides free consultations to those with legal questions in the firm's areas of practice. In this initial meeting or conference potential clients are provided advice on their need for assistance and how they need to proceed.