This isn't your first injury. You already suffered a serious injury, but now you are hurt again. Your second injury, and perhaps your first injury, happened at work. You've exhausted your workers' compensation benefits, but you are still hurt, and you may be wondering about Iowa's Second Injury Fund.
Below, our experienced Iowa workers' compensation lawyers answer some essential questions about the Second Injury Fund. We hope this information is helpful to you, and we recognize that every situation is unique. Accordingly, we also encourage you to contact us directly for a free consultation about your specific rights.
Who Qualifies for Second Injury Fund Benefits?
Iowa's Second Injury Compensation Act provides additional compensation to some Iowa workers who suffer more than one injury in separate instances. According to the law, a worker who suffers a second work-related injury should receive workers' compensation as if there had been no prior injury. Then, once those benefits have been exhausted, the Second Injury Fund may compensate the worker if the combined effect of the two injuries results in an additional disability.
When Can You Get Second Injury Fund Benefits?
People who suffer injuries in two separate instances may qualify for Second Injury Fund benefits in some circumstances. The first injury may or may not be work-related. The second injury, however, must be work-related. Multiple injuries may leave you in more pain and with a more significant disability than either injury does alone.
Second injury fund benefits begin after you have received all of your partial permanent disability workers' compensation benefits for your second injury. However, you don't have to wait until your second workers' compensation benefits have been paid in full to talk to a workers' compensation lawyer about protecting your rights.
How Do You Get Second Injury Fund Benefits?
If you want to file for Second Injury Fund benefits, you need to request a claim form from the State of Iowa Treasurer's Office. You have the right to have your workers' compensation lawyer request this form and complete this form on your behalf to protect your right to fair compensation.
How Much Will You Get in Second Injury Fund Benefits?
Second Injury Fund benefits only provide compensation for the amount of the permanent disability that exceeds the value of the two separate injuries. These benefits may continue for up to 500 weeks for a person who suffers a non-fatal work-related injury.
Survivors of people who suffered fatal work-related injuries may also receive compensation from the Second Injury Fund if the worker would have qualified for Second Injury Fund benefits had the worker survived. The amount of compensation depends on whether the worker who died had dependents.
Do You Need a Lawyer to Get Second Injury Fund Benefits?
An Iowa workers' compensation attorney can make sure that you are fairly compensated for all of your work-related injuries, including Second Injury Fund compensation, when applicable.
Second Injury Fund benefits are paid by the Iowa State Treasurer and defended by the Iowa Attorney General's office. These claims are often complicated. You will need to prove that the effect of your injuries is a disability that exceeds either of your individual injuries. You will likely need medical evidence and convincing legal arguments to make your case and get the benefits you deserve.
Our experienced workers' compensation lawyers will consider all of your potential sources of compensation, help you avoid mistakes, and advocate for your full and fair recovery. If a fair settlement can't be reached, we won't hesitate to go to court to protect your rights.
We invite you to learn about your rights and possible compensation by contacting us for a free, no-obligation consultation. We would be happy to meet with you in our Cedar Rapids, Davenport, or Des Moines office, in your home or hospital room, or by phone or video conference. Please call us, start a live chat, or complete our online contact form today to learn more.