The Answers You Need to Common Iowa Workers’ Compensation Questions

Read More +

Get Help Now


From helping you after a dog attack or truck accident in Wisconsin to defending your rights as a rider, the personal injury trial attorneys at Hupy & Abraham will be fierce advocates in your time of need.

With offices across Wisconsin, Illinois, and Iowa, and representing clients hurt by slip and fall incidents, car accidents, wrongful deaths, drug and medical device injuries, dog bites, nursing home abuse and motorcycle crashes, we are available where you need us and when you need us.

Contact our professional team of Midwest injury attorneys by calling 800-800-5678 today for your free consultation.

  • Page 1
  • How should I deal with a workers’ compensation adjuster after an Iowa work-related accident?

    If we needed to answer your question with just one word, then that word would be “carefully.”

    Here’s Why

    In most cases, your workers’ compensation benefits will be paid by your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance company. Insurance companies can maximize their profits by paying out as little as possible in insurance claims. Thus, insurance adjusters want to help make their employers profitable, and it is their job to get you and other injured workers to accept as little as possible in a settlement.

    Since your goal is not to get as little as possible—but instead to get fair benefits following your injury—it is important to be careful when dealing with an insurance adjuster. Anything that you say to an insurance adjuster may be misconstrued and later used against you. Insurance adjusters may appear genuinely concerned about your recovery and interested in how your injury is impacting your life. Yet you should never lose sight of the fact that you have competing goals.

    Instead of talking freely with an insurance adjuster, you should always answer only the question asked of you directly and without providing additional speculation. For example, if the adjuster asks you if the doctor has given you medical clearance to return to work, then you should answer with a yes or no and not with a speculative answer such as, “No, but I expect that the doctor will provide me that information at my next appointment.”

    You Don’t Have to Do This Alone

    Insurance adjusters are professionals. They know what questions to ask and how to ask them. It can be stressful to deal with them correctly and the consequences of dealing with them incorrectly can be significant.

    However, you don’t have to be the one to talk directly with the insurance adjusters about your claim. Instead, if you are represented by a workers’ compensation lawyer, then it is your attorney who will handle all communications with the insurance company and who will make sure that your rights are protected.

    If you would like to speak with a lawyer about your claim or to find out more tips for protecting your workers’ compensation case, then we encourage you to contact us via this website or by phone to learn more.

  • Can I request an independent medical exam after a work-related accident in Iowa?

    After a work-related accident, your employer or your employer’s insurance company has the right to pick the doctors who will treat you. However, sometimes you, your employer, or the state may disagree with the findings of the doctors that were originally hired to diagnose and treat you. An independent medical examination may be requested by:

    • You or your attorney, if you believe that your permanent disability determination is too low.
    • Your employer or employer’s insurer, if they disagree with your doctor.
    • The state, if there is a question about your injury.

    You may be required to submit to more than one independent medical exam.

    What Is an Independent Medical Examination?

    As the term suggests, an independent medical exam is one that is conducted by a medical professional who has no ties with you, your attorney, your employer, or your employer’s insurer. The type of exam will depend on the nature of the injury. You have the right to bring a friend or relative with you to the appointment. You should be polite, be truthful, and be cooperative during the examination.

    How to Request an Independent Medical Examination

    Iowa Code Section 85.39 allows an employee to request an independent medical exam if you have been diagnosed with a permanent disability and you believe that the disability determination is too low. You have the right to request an independent exam at your employer’s expense using Form 100A Original Notice, Petition, Answer and Order Concerning Independent Medical Examination. It is important to fill out this form completely and with all of the required attachments before you serve your employer with it.

    If you or any other party is requesting an independent medical examination, then there may be a dispute about your workers’ compensation eligibility or benefits. The resolution of this dispute can have a significant impact on your future. Accordingly, we encourage you to contact our experienced workers’ compensation lawyers today for a free consultation about your rights and for more tips about how to protect your fair workers’ compensation recovery after an Iowa work-related accident.

  • When should I return to work after a work-related accident?

    A businessman on crutches returns to his job after a workplace injury

    Before you can decide whether you should return to work after a work-related accident you will need information from your doctor. The doctor who is treating your for your work-related accident will examine you and make a determination. That determination may be that:

    • You can go back to your job with no restrictions.
    • You can go back to your job as long as certain restrictions are in place.
    • You can do other work—with or without restrictions.
    • You cannot go back to work at this time.

    Following your doctor’s orders and going back to work will not end your workers’ compensation case. Iowa Workers’ Compensation Law requires you to accept work that is suitable for you, given your disability. If you refuse the suitable work, then your workers’ compensation benefits may end.

    What Is Suitable?

    Many factors go in to determining whether a particular placement is suitable. Things that must be considered include:

    • Your injuries.
    • Whether the work will interfere with your medical treatment.
    • Whether you are qualified to do the work.
    • How far the job is from your home.

    Before you go back to work it is important to talk to your doctor about your restrictions and to get those restrictions in writing. Bring a copy of the restrictions with you when you report to work and present them to your supervisor.

    If you believe that going back to work—either to your old job or a job with other duties—will cause you further physical pain or interfere with your physical recovery, then you should contact a workers’ compensation lawyer immediately. Additionally, if your supervisor is unwilling to comply with the restrictions set forth by your doctor, then you should contact a workers’ compensation lawyer.

    Iowa workers’ compensation law encourages workers to go back to work that they can do, but you shouldn’t have to do so at the expense of your health. If you have any questions about what you should do, please call us immediately or start a live chat on this website. We would be pleased to provide you with a free consultation about your rights and with more tips about how to protect your workers’ compensation claim.

  • When should I report my work-related injury to my employer and how does my employer report my work-related injury to the state of Iowa?

    Workers’ compensation benefits—like most insurance recoveries—involve a certain amount of paperwork. You are required to report your injury to your employer, and in turn your employer is required to report your injury to the state.

    How to Report Your Injury

    You should report your injury to your employer as soon as possible after your accident. If you are unable to make the report, then someone else—such as a spouse or friend—may do so on your behalf.

    You have no more than 90 days from the time you knew or should have known that you were hurt in a work-related incident to make your official report to your employer. However, as with any injury claim, it is important to make your report as soon as possible so that you can get medical care and other benefits as soon as possible.

    What Should Your Notice Look Like?

    Chapter 85, Section 24 of the Iowa Code specifically states that:

    “No particular form of notice shall be required, but may be substantially as follows:

    To ……………

    You are hereby notified that on or about the … day of …… (month), … (year), personal injury was sustained by ……………, while in your employ at …………… (Give name and place employed and point where located when injury occurred) and that compensation will be claimed therefor.

    Signed ……………

    No variation from this form of notice shall be material if the notice is sufficient to advise the employer that a certain employee, by name, received an injury in the course of employment on or about a specified time, at or near a certain place.”

    Thus, you may use the form specified in the statute or any other method that provides the same information.

    How Your Employer Will Report Your Injury

    You are not responsible for this part of the reporting requirement, but you might be interested to understand how it works.

    Employers are required to keep records of any injuries or fatalities that an employee alleges happened in the course of employment and that result in incapacity for more than one day. If the injury results in a temporary disability for a period of more than three days, then the employer must file a report with the workers’ compensation commissioner within four days (excluding Sundays and legal holidays) from when the employer was provided notice of or knew of the incident. If the injury results in a permanent disability or death, then the employer must file a report with the workers’ compensation commission within four days of having notice of or knowledge of the permanent injury or death. Thus, more than one report may be required for a single incident. An employer who fails to comply with the reporting requirements may be fined.

    Reporting injuries is just one step in the complicated process of making a fair workers’ compensation recovery. If you have other questions about how a workers’ compensation case works in Iowa or what you should do after a work injury, then we encourage you to contact us directly via this website or by phone for a free and confidential consultation.

  • Which employers are required to have workers’ compensation insurance in Iowa? What if mine doesn’t?

    Iowa employers are required to have a way to compensate their employees for any work-related injuries (with limited exceptions). For the majority of Iowa employers, this means purchasing workers’ compensation insurance from a private insurance company. However, Iowa does provide an alternative to employers who are required by law to have workers’ compensation insurance. Iowa employers who choose not to purchase workers’ compensation from a private insurer may be self-insured, as long as they follow the statutory rules for self-insurance.

    What Are Those Rules?

    In order to be exempt from purchasing workers’ compensation from a private insurance company, an employer must comply with Section 87.11 of the Iowa Code. That section requires employers to either:

    • Provide proof to the insurance commissioner of the employer’s ability to pay the required compensation and benefits to any worker who may be injured and who may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits; or to
    • Hold the security in trust so that it is available should any worker make a legitimate claim.

    Employers will be required to provide additional proof periodically as required by the insurance commissioner.

    There are also specific rules about when an employer may stop being self-insured.

    What If Your Employer Doesn’t Have the Required Workers’ Compensation Insurance?

    Your employer could face significant legal problems—including criminal charges—for failing to have the required workers’ compensation insurance.

    Your employer’s mistake should not prevent your fair recovery of benefits for a work-related injury, but you will likely need help fighting for the fair recovery that you are owed. If you have been hurt in a work-related accident and you are concerned about whether your employer has workers’ compensation insurance or you have questions about how a workers’ compensation case works, then we encourage you to contact us as soon as possible to set up a free, no-obligation consultation with an experienced lawyer.

  • Am I eligible for workers’ compensation after a work-related accident in Iowa?

    Pensive man sits at computer desk

    Most Iowa employers are required to have workers’ compensation insurance. A private employer with workers who do their jobs in the state of Iowa is required to have workers’ compensation insurance with a private insurance company or to be self-insured. The failure to have the required insurance is a class D felony.

    However, while the law may require your employer to have workers’ compensation, you still need to know whether you are eligible for benefits.

    Most Workers Who Suffer Work-Related Injuries in Iowa Qualify for Workers’ Compensation

    Your eligibility begins on your first day on the job. There is no waiting period as there may be for other employment benefits. If you can prove that you were hurt in a work-related accident, then you should be able to recover workers’ compensation benefits.

    However, as with most insurance rules, there are exceptions to the general workers’ compensation rules. You may not be able to recover workers’ compensation benefits if you are a(n):

    • Domestic or casual employee who made less than $1,500 in the year prior to your injury.
    • Agricultural employee who is exempt by law.
    • Certain relative of the employer such as the employer’s spouse or the parent, child, stepchild or sibling of the employer or the employer’s spouse (or the spouse of any of these relations).
    • Police office or fire fighter who is eligible for pension benefits pursuant to the Iowa statutes.
    • Proprietor or partner of the business and you are engaged in a substantially full-time employment for the business.
    • President, vice-president, secretary, or treasurer of a corporation and you have elected not to be covered by workers’ compensation law.
    • Employee who is entitled to another method of compensation pursuant to a rule established by the United States Congress.
    • Member of a limited liability company.

    If you have been hurt at work in Iowa, then it is important to consider whether you may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits and to take action to protect your full and fair recovery of benefits. For more information about how a workers’ compensation case works or about protecting your individual rights, please contact us via this website or by phone at any time. We would be pleased to schedule a free consultation for you.

  • What evidence do I need for a workers’ compensation claim?

    Hand with pen signing papers

    If a dispute arises about your workers’ compensation claim, then you are going to need evidence to prove why you are entitled to the benefits that you are seeking. You can—and should—begin collecting this evidence on the day of your accident, which may be long before you know whether or not a dispute will arise.

    Evidence to Keep

    In the aftermath of your work-related accident, it is important to keep:

    • Pictures or videos from the accident scene. While you do not have to prove that your employer was negligent, you will have to establish that you were hurt in a work-related accident. In other words, you need to establish that you were acting within the scope of your employment at the time that you were hurt. Photos or videos can help prove that. Pictures and videos can also help establish working conditions if you are alleging that you developed an illness due to work conditions.
    • Medical records from before your injury or illness. This will be useful if the insurance company tries to argue that you had a preexisting condition and that you were not really hurt at work.
    • Medical records from the date of your injury to the present. This should include all dates of medical appointments, names of medical providers, diagnoses made, and treatments received. Additionally, it should include any assistive devices such as crutches that you needed.
    • Mileage documentation. This may include photos of your odometer, written notes, or receipts from taxis, rideshares (such as Uber), or public transportation.
    • Lodging and meal receipts. If the lodging and meals were made necessary by your medical treatment, then you may be compensated.

    Your unique case may benefit from additional documentation. An experienced workers’ compensation lawyer can help you determine all of the different types of evidence that is needed to build a strong claim and can explain how an Iowa workers’ compensation claim works so that you can protect your rights. To learn more, please start a live chat with us or call us directly for a free consultation.

  • When will I receive workers’ compensation benefits after an Iowa work-related accident?

    Iowa law provides specific guidelines about how long it should take to receive workers’ compensation payments after a work-related injury. While the law provides some certainty for you, the law is dependent on two things. First, it is dependent on your doing what is required of you—and second, it is dependent on the insurance company’s complying with state law.

    The General Timeline

    Weekly payments may begin as soon as the 11th day following the day your disability started. Once these payments begin, they may stop only if…

    • You return to work; or
    • The insurance company provides you with 30 days’ written notice explaining the reason for the termination of benefits and advising you of your right to appeal to the workers’ compensation commissioner.

    Medical benefits may start even earlier than weekly payments.

    What You Need to Do to Get Your Benefits Quickly

    Workers’ compensation benefits do not begin automatically. Instead, as the injured worker, there are steps that you need to take to make a claim. In order to get your benefit payments to begin on the 11th day after your disability occurs, you must provide a written report of your accident to your employer or your employer’s insurance company as soon as possible.

    What Happens If Your Payments Are Delayed?

    If you have provided the necessary documentation and the insurance company has failed to provide you with workers’ compensation benefits within a reasonable amount of time, then you may be entitled to receive interest on back payments and, in some cases, penalty payments.

    Getting hurt at work can cause you to suffer significant hardship. It is the goal of workers’ compensation law to minimize any undue hardship and that goal is furthered by providing you with prompt payments.

    If you are having trouble getting the payments that you deserve or if you have any questions about how an Iowa workers’ compensation clam works, please contact us directly via this website or by phone to schedule a free consultation.

  • Do I need an attorney if I was hurt at work in Iowa?

    If you have suffered a minor injury that did not require you to see a doctor or miss any time from work, then you might not need an attorney to help you with a workers’ compensation claim. However, in most other situations you may benefit from working with an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer who will fight hard to get you the fair recovery that you deserve.

    Five Situations When You Should Call a Workers’ Comp Lawyer

    You owe it to yourself to at least consult with a workers’ compensation lawyer if:

    • Your employer disputes your claim. If your employer denies your claim and you fail to appeal, then you will not recover workers’ compensation benefits. Some employers or their insurers deny claims hoping that injured employees will not appeal. If this happens to you, then it can cost you your fair recovery and you may be left without reimbursement for all of the costs of your work-related injury.
    • You don’t receive fair benefits quickly. This could be a sign that the insurance company is not providing you fair benefits. An attorney can represent you during insurance company negotiations and work to get you the fair benefits that you deserve in a timely way.
    • You’ve been hurt so badly that you can’t go back to your old job. Given the extent of your injuries, you should expect that the insurance company may try to pay you less than a full recovery. An attorney can help you determine what a fair recovery is pursuant to Iowa law and fight to get you that recovery that you deserve.
    • Your boss or employer is threatening retaliation because you are pursuing a workers’ compensation claim. You should not face any kind of retaliation at work because you are pursuing the recovery that Iowa law allows you to make. A lawyer can make sure that no retaliation occurs or that your employer is held accountable for any retaliation that has already happened.
    • You may have a personal injury claim against someone other than your employer. If a third party—someone other than your employer or another employee—caused your work-related injuries, then you could have a third-party personal injury claim. That claim is decided outside of the workers’ compensation system and instead is handled pursuant to Iowa personal injury law.

    Additionally, you may benefit from working with a lawyer if you:

    • Have a preexisting condition that could make a medical determination difficult after a work accident.
    • You are overwhelmed with the workers’ compensation process or uncomfortable advocating for yourself.

    Or you may simply have questions about how a workers’ compensation claim works in Iowa and you may want answers. If you would like to learn more about your rights or about how an Iowa workers’ compensation claim works, please contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation.