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 This article’s information may be out of date.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.
Suffering a work injury can be debilitating, not only physically but mentally as well. You may be struggling to pay your bills and get back on your feet after you’ve been hurt on the job. You may also be wondering how much you should be compensated and whether or not you’ll get a fair deal from the workers’ compensation insurance company.
So how much is your workers’ compensation claim worth? The short answer is: it depends. Many different factors go into calculating how much an Iowa workers’ compensation claim is worth.
5 Types of Benefits
There are five main types of workers’ compensation benefits that you could receive if you have suffered a work injury. The type and amount of benefits you can receive depends on where on your body you are injured, and whether your injury will ever heal.
- Temporary benefits are used as wage replacement, covering at least some of your salary while you are off work and healing from your work injury. These benefits start after the third missed day of work due to a work injury. These benefits end once you return to work or when a doctor releases you from care – this is known as “maximum medical improvement.”
- Permanent disability benefits are issued if you have permanently lost function to some part of your body. They begin once it is determined you have reached maximum medical improvement. The amount of benefits you are entitled to depends on:
- The body part affected
- The workers’ weekly benefit rate
- The degree of disability or impairment
Determining what you are owed can be complicated. Depending on where on your body you are injured, you may need to gather many forms of evidence—past employment records, educational records, second opinions from doctors, opinions from your treating doctors, opinions from vocational consultants, etc. It is a good idea to talk to a workers’ compensation attorney to understand the complexities of your case and gather the necessary information to prove the full value of your claim.
- Medical benefits are required to be paid by your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance company after any work injury, so long as the employer gets to choose the doctor. If you treat with your own doctors, and do not give the workers’ compensation insurance company an opportunity to direct your care, you may be stuck with the medical bills. Medical benefits also include mileage to and from the place of treatment.
- The Second Injury Fund is a type of benefit you may be entitled to if you already have a permanent disability to a hand, arm, foot, leg, or eye and then suffer another injury to one of those body parts at work. The prior injury does not have to be a work injury.
- Death Benefits provide compensation to a surviving spouse and children. These are issued only if an injured worker suffers a work-related injury that results in his or her death.
You may be able to receive multiple types of benefits, depending on your particular injury. As stated before, determining what someone’s workers’ compensation claim is worth is a complex issue.
The best way to figure out what your case may be worth is to contact an experienced workers’ compensation attorney.
They will be able to look at the specifics of your claim and give you some realistic expectations for compensation.