Iowa Workers’ Compensation Benefits After Back and Neck Injuries

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Posted by Dillon Besser

Injuring your back or neck at work can be two of the most serious work injuries Iowa workers face. Because of this, those that suffer serious back and neck injuries are rightfully entitled to certain benefits under Iowa law.

3 Types of Iowa Work Comp Benefits

Like all accepted workers’ compensation claims in Iowa, there are three main categories of benefits you are entitled to:

1. Medical care 

The workers’ compensation insurance carrier is required to provide all reasonable and necessary medical care for an accepted work injury. This benefit does not end until no doctor is recommending further care or if you settle your Iowa workmans’ comp case.

2. Temporary disability/healing period benefits

If, after your work injury has been accepted by the insurance carrier, the authorized medical provider restricts you from working, you are entitled to weekly disability benefits while you are recovering from your work injury.

These benefits continue until you are able to return to work within any doctor-recommended restrictions or you reach maximum medical improvement for your injury.

3. Permanent disability benefits

The final main category of benefits for your claim is where a back or neck injury can differ from other work injuries. At the end of the authorized treatment, the insurance carrier is required to obtain opinions from a medical expert as to any permanent impairment for your injury.

This impairment rating will be given as a percentage of whole person impairment. The insurance carrier should then volunteer additional weekly benefits based on the percentage of impairment out of 500 weeks.

However, if your injury is to your back or neck, it also matters whether you are able to return to your previous job without restrictions. If you are not able to return to your previous job, you are entitled to loss of earning capacity—or industrial disability—benefits. If this is the case, it can greatly increase the amount of benefits you are entitled to for your claim.

It is extremely unlikely the workers’ compensation carrier will ever volunteer more benefits than the impairment rating. This is a good reason to contact an experienced workers’ compensation attorney to discuss your work injury.

While these benefits are available to an injured worker, the workers’ compensation carrier is unlikely to volunteer those benefits willingly and fully.

3 Mistakes Injured Iowa Workers Make – And How to Avoid Them

There are certain mistakes that could create issues for your workers’ compensation claim you should be aware of:

  • Insurance carriers will often look for pre-existing conditions to avoid liability for serious back or neck injuries. It is important to be clear in your reporting of the injury that this is a new injury caused by work.
  • It is important you are receiving the necessary medical treatment and it is being authorized by the work comp insurance company. It is much more difficult to ask for the treatment to be paid for after it occurs.
  • Quitting the job before seeking legal advice. As discussed above, certain permanent disability benefits are dependent on whether you can return to your previous job. If you voluntarily leave employment while still recovering, the insurance carrier will argue that you are capped at an impairment rating when it comes to permanent disability benefits.

To learn more information as to whether it makes sense to hire an attorney for your back or neck work injury, contact an experienced Iowa workers’ compensation attorney today for your free, no-obligation case evaluation by contacting RSH Legal today at 1-800-433-0283.

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