How Much Are Workers’ Compensation Settlements for Back Injuries in Iowa?

If you have suffered a back injury at work, you can determine what typical workers' compensation settlements for back injuries are by consulting a workers' compensation lawyer. Although the amount of a settlement varies from case to case, a workers' comp lawyer can study the facts of your case and help you determine its potential value. 

Workers' Compensation

What is workers’ compensation? When workers are injured at work, they have the right to benefits under Iowa's Workers' Compensation Act. Workers' Compensation is the sole avenue of recovery for workers injured on the job. Every state in America has passed its own version of workers' compensation laws, which require employers to carry insurance to pay the for medical bills and lost wages of injured workers. However, as a trade-off for this guaranteed benefit, workers are barred from bringing a civil suit against their employer.

If you sued your employer for your injury, you would have the possibility of winning more money than you would get for workers' compensation settlements for back injuries or other injuries. However, lawsuits take longer and are more expensive than reaching a workers' comp settlement. Further, there is no guarantee that you would win a lawsuit against your employer. When states enacted workers' compensation laws, they did so with the goal of ensuring medical coverage for workers' injured on the job and of avoiding the costly litigation for every work related injury.

In Iowa, to recover workers' compensation benefits, you must notify your employer of your injury within ninety days. Additionally, you must file a workers' compensation petition with the Workers' Compensation Commission within two years of the date of your injury. However, if your employer has been paying you weekly workers' comp benefits for your injury, you have up to three years to file a workers' compensation petition.

Once you file your petition, you must work with your employer's workers' compensation insurance company to determine whether they will accept or reject your claim. If they accept your claim, you should be able to come to an agreement regarding the amount you will receive for medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses.

If your claim is rejected, you may have to go before the Workers' Compensation Commission for a hearing. In extreme cases, you may have to file a lawsuit against your employer to recover workers' compensation benefits. A workers' compensation attorney can help you navigate each step in the process and ensure that you receive fair compensation.

Workers' Compensation Settlements for Back Injuries

Back injuries can be very serious and lead to expensive medical bills. Back injuries may also make it impossible for you to return to work for an extended period of time. You should take workers' compensation back injuries seriously. If you do not properly document your injury, your medical treatment, your lost wages, and your other injury-related expenses, you may end up with a settlement for less than you need to take care of yourself.

A lower back work injury, in particular, can drastically affect your ability to do your job, leading to lost earning capacity. Therefore, these type of workers' compensation back injuries are considered significant in the Iowa Workers' Compensation system. How your back injury, or the limitations caused by your injury, affect your ability to work is the most important element that determines the amount of money the system will pay for your work related injury.

When an Iowa worker sustains a permanent injury to his or her back, the worker has the right to benefits according to how the injury affects their ability to work and earn a living. These benefits are called “industrial disability benefits.” To reach workers' compensation settlements for back injuries, workers and their employers must make a determination about how the injury will affect their ability to work.

The effect the injury has on your ability to work is presented in terms of a percentage. For example, if you lost 50 percent of your ability to work, you would have the right under Iowa law to 50 percent of 500 weeks (amount set by law) or 250 weeks of Iowa workers' comp benefits for this injury. Workers' compensation back injuries make up a high percentage of the claims made in Iowa because there are a substantial number of jobs that are impossible to complete for workers suffering from a back injury.

If you have suffered a back injury at work, you should understand your right to workers' compensation benefits and pursue a settlement that will allow you to take care of your medical bills as well as compensate you for lost wages for the time that you are unable to work.

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.