Employers should always ensure their work environment is safe and free of hazards that could cause potential injury. This is especially true for professions that are at a much higher risk of injury such as construction, mass fishing or high-rise window washing. However, accidents do happen and if you’re hurt on the job it should be your employer’s responsibility to provide adequate coverage for your losses.
Employers without worker’s compensation insurance or who refuse to cover the cost of their employee’s injury could be held liable in court. Depending on the outcome of the case, you could gain a monetary award to cover your medical bills, lost wages and other expenses that may have occurred because of your injury.
If you have been injured in the workplace, it’s highly suggested you hire an experienced personal injury attorney to guide you.
Worker’s Compensation Lawyer in West Des Moines, Iowa
It’s the responsibility of the employer to ensure their employees are and have adequate coverage if an accident that results in injury occurs. When employers outright refuse worker’s compensation or claim they don’t have the appropriate insurance to cover it, then you could be entitled to a monetary award for the distress their negligence has cause you.
Find out more about worker’s compensation in Iowa by calling McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C.. Our team of experienced personal injury and employment law attorneys have a thorough understanding of how worker’s compensation functions in Iowa. We want to provide you with effective representation so you can receive the compensation you deserve.
Call us now at (515) 279-9700 to set up your first consultation free. McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C. practices throughout the greater Dallas County and Polk County area including Altoona, West Des Moines, Perry, Polk City, Ankeny and Johnston.
Overview of Worker’s Compensation in Iowa
- Iowa’s Laws for Worker’s Compensation
- When to Report an Injury to an Employer
- How to Get Compensation for Your Workplace Injuries
- Additional Resources
Iowa’s Laws for Worker’s Compensation
Worker’s compensation is a type of private or public insurance that provides coverage to employees who were injured on the job. In Iowa, all employers are required to have some sort of worker’s compensation in case one of their employees is injured. There are very few exceptions to this rule and failing to provide proper worker’s compensation can result in not only civil consequences for the employer, but also criminal charges.
Most employers in Iowa purchase a worker’s compensation policy from a private insurance company. Some employers are considered self-insured, which basically means they will cover the costs for any injury out of pocket. In order to be exempt from worker’s compensation, the employer must comply with the following rules:
- Provide proof to the insurance commissioner of the employer’s ability to pay the required benefits and compensation listed under the Iowa Code to any worker who could be injured on the job and is eligible for worker’s compensation; or
- Hold the security in a trust so it’s available to any worker who makes a legitimate claim they’ve been injured on the job
If your employer hasn’t done one of the two requirements above, then they are operating illegally. The failure to have required insurance is a class D felony in Iowa, which can lead to a long-term prison sentence.
However, not every injured employee can obtain worker’s compensation. The insurance is only available to those who qualify, and that eligibility begins your first day on the job. You may not be able to recover worker’s compensation benefits if you are a(n):
- Member of a limited liability company;
- The president, vice-president, secretary or treasurer of a corporation and you elected to not be covered by worker’s compensation under the Iowa Code;
- You are entitled to another method of compensation by a rule from the U.S. congress;
- Proprietor or partner of the business and you’re engaged in a substantially full-time employment for that business;
- A relative of the employer such as their spouse, child, stepchild, or sibling;
- An agricultural employee who is exempt;
- Police officer or fire fighter who qualifies for pension; or
- Domestic or casual employee who has made less than $1,500 in the year
When to Report an Injury to Your Employer
One of the most important aspects of a worker’s compensation case is when you report your injury. It’s important you report your injury as soon as possible after your accident. If you’re unable to do the report yourself, then it’s imperative someone close to you file the report immediately on your behalf.
Under the Iowa Code, you have no more than 90 days from the time you knew or should have that you were injured in a work-related incident. Any worker’s compensation application after that will be rejected by the insurance commissioner. As with any injury, it’s also vital you get medical care immediately after the accident. Your worker’s compensation should cover any past or present medical bills related to your workplace injury. Even if it might seem “fine,” it’s important you don’t skip this step. It’s not only the right thing to do for your health to see a physician, but the medical records from the visit can be used as evidence in trial.
How to Get Compensation for Your Workplace Injuries
The majority of worker’s compensation cases are resolved quickly when the worker makes a claim and the insurer agrees to pay for it. Unfortunately, some insurance companies will dispute a claim and what benefits the worker receives despite the fact the injury is listed in the policy. They may even outright reject a valid claim so they can make a profit off the employer’s current policy.
If your employer or their insurance company refused to cover your workplace-related injury, then it’s important you do one of the following:
- Ask your employer or their insurer for the specific reasons for the rejection or disputed claim. If you have evidence that contradicts their reasoning, you can provide that evidence to both your employer or insurance company so they can reconsider; or
- File a contested case proceeding with the Iowa Worker’s Compensation Commissioner. There the office will use a variety of methods to resolve your claim such as mediation.
It’s likely you will have to meet up with your employer and their insurance company to come to a resolution. In many cases, both the insurance company and employee will come to an agreement on a settlement. However, if an agreement can’t be reached you have the option to take the case to court and have a judge decide the verdict.
In either scenario, it’s extremely recommended you have legal representation. Insurance companies are equipped with super lawyer defense teams that could totally blow your chances of ever receiving the coverage you deserve. Having a skilled and experienced attorney on your side will level the playing field and dramatically raise your chances of receiving a settlement.
Iowa’s Division on Worker’s Compensation – Visit the official website for the Iowa WorkForce Development organization and learn more about their division for worker’s compensation. Access the site to file for worker’s compensation, view the hearing schedules, how to stay in compliance with worker’s compensation as an employer and more.
Worker Compensation Laws in Iowa – Visit the official website for the Iowa Code to learn more surrounding worker’s compensation. Access the site to learn more about the form associated with worker’s compensation, settlements, permanent disability benefits and more.
Employment Law Attorney for Worker’s Compensation in Dallas County, IA
If you or someone you know has been injured on the job, we suggest you call legal counsel. Applying for worker’s compensation can be tricky if your employer’s insurance company is acting in bad faith. They may offer you low-ball settlements or even outright reject your claim without reason. Fight back with experienced legal representation from McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C..
The lawyers at McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C. believe all employees who are injured at work should receive fair worker’s compensation. That is why we’ve represented countless clients who have had issues getting compensation from insurers or their employers. Call now at (515) 279-9700 to set up your first consultation free today.
McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C. accepts clients throughout the greater Dallas County and Polk County area including Perry, West Des Moines, Ankeny, Altoona, and Polk City.