In many states in the United States, most employers are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. Iowa is no exception to that rule. Iowa workers comp is in place in the event that a worker becomes ill or suffers an injury while on the job. It also covers both temporary and permanent disabilities and includes a variety of laws. It’s important for Iowa residents to know these laws in case they suffer an on-the-job injury or illness.
First and foremost, if you are injured on the job, it’s absolutely essential that you report it to your employer or direct supervisor. Make an accident report as well. You are required to report your injury or illness within 90 days of sustaining it or first noticing symptoms. Failing to do so within that period of time can put you at risk for not receiving the benefits.
After you have reported your injury or illness, your employer must submit an initial report of it to the Workers’ Compensation Commissioner within four days. The employer also has the right to choose a specific doctor for you to see to be examined and receive medical care. You can also file a petition to see a different doctor.
Types of Iowa Workers’ Compensation Benefits
Iowa has a specific set of workers’ compensation benefits for which you may be eligible after sustaining an on-the-job illness or injury. They include the following:
- Medical Benefits: Your employer and its insurance company are required to provide you with medical care and pay for it when you suffer an injury or illness related to your work. In general, the employer tends to choose the physician you see, but in some cases, they may allow you to see your own doctor. Regardless of the doctor you see, your employer and the insurance carrier are responsible for paying for any of your medical expenses.
- Wage Replacement Benefits: According to workers’ compensation laws, you are entitled to be paid benefits to cover lost wages if you are out of work for a certain amount of time while recovering from your injuries or illness. The amount you receive is less than your normal pay. If the doctor puts you on restriction and you work fewer hours or receive lower pay, you can receive temporary partial disability benefits.
- Permanency Benefits: Permanent partial disability benefits are available to injured or ill workers who sustain permanent injuries or illnesses. However, what you receive in compensation depends on the specific injury you have sustained.
What to do if There is a Problem with a Workers’ Comp Claim
It’s important to note that workers’ compensation in Iowa and other states exists so that, if an employee is injured on the job, they give up their right to sue their employer. However, if a workers’ comp claim is denied or there is a dispute regarding the benefits, the injured employee has a right to take action. These are the options available in the event of a problem with a claim:
- The worker may request a full explanation that includes evidence from the employer and the insurance company.
- The worker can contact a Workers’ Compensation Compliance Administrator to address any issues.
- The individual can file a contested case proceeding with the Iowa Workers’ Compensation Commissioner. In this situation, the individual would have an attorney.