An Injured Employee Meeting With a Workers' Compensation Lawyer

You aren’t going to heal from the injury that you suffered at work. Instead, you have suffered a permanent and total disability, and you won’t be able to work again.

Iowa law recognizes that a permanent and total injury is different from other injuries and provides different benefits to workers who suffer these types of life-changing injuries than workers who suffer temporary or partial disabilities.

If you have a permanent total disability, then it is important to know your rights. Below, we answer some of the most commonly asked questions we receive about Iowa workers’ compensation permanent total disability benefits. We encourage you to browse these questions and answers and to call our experienced Iowa workers’ compensation lawyers directly if you have any questions about your specific rights.

What Is a Permanent Total Disability?

A permanent total disability does not mean that you are completely helpless or that you are unable to perform any of your regular daily activities. Instead, for workers’ compensation purposes, a permanent total disability is defined as a long-lasting injury that prevents you from working at a job where you can earn money.

How Do I Prove That I Have a Permanent Total Disability?

It depends on your unique situation. In some cases, your injury may be so significant that medical evidence is sufficient to establish your permanent total disability. In other cases, you may need additional evidence that you can’t work. This could include the assessment and opinion of a vocational expert.

How Much Workers’ Compensation Will I Receive If I Have a Permanent Total Disability?

Your workers’ compensation will be based on 80% of your average spendable weekly earnings. However, your benefits may not be more than 200% of the statewide average weekly wage or less than the weekly benefit that is paid to someone whose gross weekly earnings are 35% of the statewide average weekly wage.

Unlike workers’ comp benefits for permanent partial disabilities that are capped at a certain number of weeks, your benefits for a permanent total disability will continue for the entire time that you are permanently and totally disabled.

Who Will Pay My Medical Expenses?

Your employer is legally required to pay for the reasonable and necessary medical care that is related to your injury. Your employer is also required to pay for your reasonable and necessary transportation costs to get medical care.

Are There Any Other Workers’ Comp Benefits I Should Know About?

In addition to medical care and weekly benefits to replace a portion of your lost wages, you may be entitled to other workers’ compensation benefits. For example, if there comes a time when you can go back to work, but not to the work that you did before your injury, then you may be eligible for vocational training.

If you die from your work-related injury or illness, then your spouse, dependent children, or other people who are financially dependent on you may be eligible for death benefits.

Should I Settle My Workers’ Compensation Case?

There are many factors that go into a fair workers’ compensation settlement. While we can’t advise you on your specific settlement through this general article, we can advise you to speak with an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer before you agree to any settlement. Any settlement decision that you make can significantly impact your future benefits.

How Should I Negotiate With My Employer’s Workers’ Compensation Insurer?

Workers’ compensation insurance adjusters want to pay you as little as possible to settle your claim. They may try to use things that you say against you or other tricks to pay you less than fair compensation for your workplace injuries. You can avoid this by hiring an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer to represent you. Insurance companies know that Hupy and Abraham means business and may be more likely to negotiate in good faith when you are represented by a lawyer.

How Do I Contact a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer?

You can call us, fill out our online contact form, or start a live chat with us at any time—24/7/365. We are happy to provide you with a free consultation in our Cedar Rapids, Des Moines, or Quad Cities Iowa offices or to come to you if you prefer.

Jason F. Abraham
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Managing Partner, Hupy and Abraham