Benefits to Which You Are Entitled

An injured worker is entitled to receive several kinds of workers compensation benefits if he or she is hurt at work. Here are some of the benefits allowed:

Medical Expenses: A worker is entitled to receive medical care when he or she is injured at work. This includes doctor, surgical, dental, hospital, pharmacy, physical therapy and testing. In return for paying the treatment bills, the employer (or workers compensation insurance company) decides which doctor the injured worker sees for treatment. (Iowa Code 85.27) Your attorney may help you obtain medical care.

Medical Mileage: An injured worker is entitled to reimbursement, at the rate of 44.5 cents per mile, for travel to and from medical appointments. This rate changes on an annual basis ((Iowa Code 85.27) Your attorney will help you calculate what is owed.

Temporary Benefits: Injured workers are entitled to receive weekly benefits if a doctor has taken them off work. If an injured employee is returned to work on light duty, and earns less then usual, then he or she may receive further benefits. Once the worker returns to his or her regular job, or is released from care by the doctor, then temporary benefits end. (Iowa Code 85.33) Temporary benefits are often underpaid and your attorney will help correct any underpayments.

Permanent Partial Disability/Schedule Members: An injured worker is entitled to permanent partial disability benefits, if he or she has a lasting injury to an arm, hand, finger, thumb, leg, foot, toe or eye. These injuries are called “schedule member injuries and benefits for them are capped under Iowa law. Doctors must provide opinions about the extent of schedule member injuries. (Iowa Code 85.34) Your attorney will seek the maximum permanent partial disability benefit allowed under Iowa law.

Industrial Disability/Whole Body Injuries: If a worker has injured his or her neck, back, hip, head, nervous system, or circulatory system, he or she has sustained an injury to the body as a whole. A worker with a whole-body injury is entitled to benefits for his or her reduced earning capacity. This loss is determined by impairment ratings, restrictions, wage reductions, inability to return to a former job and other factors. (Iowa Code 85.34(2)(u)) Your attorney will seek the maximum industrial disability benefit allowed under Iowa law.

Permanent Total Disability: If an employee is totally disabled by a work injury, he or she may be entitled to weekly benefits for the rest of their life. (Iowa Code 85.34(3)) Without assistance from an attorney, permanent total disability is very difficult to prove.

Death Benefits: When a worker is killed on the job, burial expenses, payments to the surviving spouse and/or dependents are to be made. (Iowa Code 85.42(45))

Interest on Overdue Benefits: Weekly benefits are to be paid by or on the 11th day after they accrue or interest is to be paid at 10%. Iowa Code 85.30 Penalty Benefits: Penalties of up to 50% may be assessed for late payment of weekly benefits if the employer or insurance company does not have a reasonable excuse. (Iowa Code 86.13) Your attorney will seek penalty benefits when appropriate.