In Iowa, companies that employ more than five employees are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. It is meant to protect both employer and workers in the event that an employee sustains an on-the-job injury or illness. While workers get to claim benefits without having to prove fault on the part of their employer or coworkers, the employer is also spared from a personal injury lawsuit. It’s important to know how Iowa workers comp works and how to file.
First and foremost, an employee who is injured at work performing their normal job duties must report their injury or illness to their employer within 90 days if they wish to file a claim for workers’ compensation. Failing to report an injury within this time frame means that the individual may lose some or even all of their benefits.
In addition, the worker should immediately see a doctor for medical treatment. In some cases, the employer may request that they undergo a medical exam with a doctor of their choosing. However, even in that situation, the individual may still see their own doctor for a second opinion.
When informing an employer of an on-the-job injury, it’s important that the notice be written and signed. It should also include the following information:
• Name and contact information
• Time and date of injury or illness
• Where the injury or illness occurred
• Body parts that were injured
• Request for Iowa workers comp
Interestingly, a formal claim with the Division of Workers’ Compensation system isn’t necessary in the state of Iowa. The employer is responsible for sending a First Report of Injury, as well as filing a claim with its insurance company instead. After the insurance company has received the claim, there will be an investigation performed to determine the individual’s eligibility for benefits. During the investigation, the following may be included:
• Analysis of the employee’s work experience, education and salary
• Reviewing the person’s medical records
• Ordering a medical exam
• Sending the worker a functional capacity evaluation for restricted work
If you have been injured on the job in Iowa, you should definitely look into workers’ compensation, especially if you are unable to work or work to full capacity.