Attention! Iowa’s Workers’ Compensation laws changed July 1, 2017. This article’s information may be out of date. Visit our Workers’ Compensation Page for more information.
It can be a hard pill to swallow, knowing that your Iowa workers’ compensation claim could potentially be jeopardized because of a mistake you made. There are some missteps that can hurt your chances of getting workers’ comp. benefits that you would otherwise be coming to you.
I want to tell you some of the ways I’ve seen people hurt their workman’s compensation cases so that you won’t make these same mistakes.
Stopping Medical Treatment Of Your Injuries Before You’re Actually Healed
If you miss doctor or therapy appointments, or stop going to your appointments before the doctor says you’re healed, the workers’ compensation insurance company can use this against you. They will argue that you aren’t doing your best to get better, or that you aren’t really hurt that badly, even if that isn’t true. Make sure you’re going to every doctor or therapy appointment until the doctor says that your injuries are healed.
Talking About Your Workers’ Compensation Case With Anyone But Your Attorney
The only person you should be talking to about your workers’ compensation claim is your attorney. If you talk about the legal side of your case with your doctor (and not just the medical part), that will likely show up in the medical record, and typically not in a good way. Likewise, if you discuss your case with your co-workers, your supervisors, or even your neighbors and friends, the insurance company may have them testify against you. Only discuss your case with your attorney.
Posting Anything About Your Workers’ Compensation Claim on Social Media
You should assume that anything you put on the Internet – whether you believe it is private or not – will be made available to the workers’ compensation insurance company and its attorneys as part of your claim. Some workers’ compensation judges in Iowa are forcing injured workers to turn over their social media posts to the other side.
Even before you file an official workers’ compensation claim, the insurance company has probably tried trolling the Internet for information about you. If you talk about your workers’ compensation claim, post pictures of yourself, or talk about your physical or mental condition on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc., STOP IMMEDIATELY. The best way to make sure your social media posts can’t be used against you in your claim is not to make them at all.
You cannot destroy information that you’ve already posted, but we recommend you stop posting on all of the social media sites that you use until your workers’ compensation claim has been resolved.
Not Aggressively Job Searching During Your Workers’ Compensation Case
If you have been terminated from the job where you got hurt, or you had to quit because of your injuries, you need to conduct a job search. Whether you are motivated to return to work is becoming a bigger and bigger factor to judges who hear workers’ compensation cases in Iowa.
They do not easily accept blanket statements like, “I can’t work” or “I haven’t applied for work because nobody will hire me anyway.” The judges want proof that you’ve looked for work and you aren’t able to find a job that you are capable of.
On the flip side, if you’ve applied for several jobs and haven’t been hired, the workers’ compensation insurance company will be hard-pressed to argue that there is work out there for you. If you apply for jobs, and aren’t hired, it’s pretty easy for your attorney to show that your work injury has impaired your ability to work.
We have specific advice on how to conduct a job search and other tips on how to stop hurting your workers’ compensation claim. If you find yourself out of work after a work injury and you have questions, call us today toll-free at 1-319-519-4193 and we will be happy to speak with you.