After being hurt on the job in Iowa, you may believe you can settle your workers’ compensation claim on your own. But should you do so – or should you hire an experienced Iowa workers’ compensation attorney to help you?
The short answer is that an attorney will be able to tell you whether you are being treated fairly by the workers’ compensation insurance company and give an honest opinion about whether there would be any benefit to getting an attorney involved.
The longer answer is a bit more complex and requires some discussion. I first want to explain why this question matters and then review some of the factors an attorney considers when advising someone whether to proceed on their own or get an attorney involved.
Just like any other business, workers’ compensation insurance corporations want to make a profit. This motivation often leads insurance corporations to offer unfair settlements to injured Iowans. Most injured workers do not know what they deserve under Iowa law and a profit-driven insurance corporation is not likely to tell them the whole story.
The sad truth is that injured workers agree to lowball settlements and other terms that hurt them every day because they have not taken the time to get an evaluation of their claim from a qualified workers’ compensation attorney. There are many different types of workers’ compensation settlements in Iowa. How you settle your case can greatly affect your right to future workers’ compensation benefits.
Insurance companies can accept a claim and “play nice” while still undercutting an individual’s entitlement to benefits. What is being offered by the insurance company may be significantly less than the recovery accomplished with the aid of a workers’ compensation attorney.
The Iowa workers’ compensation system can be very complex, and the amount of benefits to which an injured worker is entitled can vary widely based on the medical condition involved and the personal employment situation.
There can be over a dozen factors to consider when calculating benefits for a permanently disabled worker. Due to the complexity, it is unlikely that anyone other than an experienced workers’ compensation attorney will be able to say whether an employer’s settlement offer is fair.
Even if the settlement offer is fair, it is incredibly important to consider the “strings attached” to the offer. Accepting your Iowa workers’ compensation benefits in the wrong way can cost you money in the long run. The money you receive for a work injury can reduce the amount of money that the government will pay you in Social Security Disability benefits or Medicare benefits.
It does not seem fair, but this sort of thing can happen when an injured worker accepts a workers’ compensation settlement without taking the necessary precautions. Working with a workers’ compensation attorney can ensure that things not only work well in the short term, but also that you are protected in the long term.
If you need additional information, download our free Law Guide to Iowa Workers’ Compensation Claims.
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