There have been recent changes to the iowa workers compensation law and some of the changes may affect you, especially if you are about to file a claim for workers’ compensation. Some of these changes may seem unfair to a worker, but regardless, you need to be aware of them because they may affect you, either now or in the future.
Permanent injuries have reduced the maximum time limits
One of the biggest changes comes in the area of a permanent disability. In general, there is a maximum amount of time you will be paid for a permanent injury. When your doctor releases you back to the workforce, he or she will give you a rating or a percentage of how well you have recovered from your injury. You will then be eligible for this percentage of the maximum time for compensation. For example, if you have an injury to your arm, the maximum time for compensation is 250 weeks for a permanent injury that represents a 100 percent reduction of use of your arm. In other words, you can no longer use the arm for the purpose of work. However, if your arm has lost fifty percent of its use for work, you are only eligible for fifty percent of 250 weeks, which is 125 weeks.
There is a schedule of member injuries
Limits to permanent injuries to the eyes as well as the limbs are referred to in a schedule of injuries to determine the exact amount of weeks you are entitled to workers’ compensation. The percentage of the maximum amount of compensation will be determined by the rating that is given by your doctor.
Injuries to the body are handled differently
Other than your legs, arms and eyes, the rest of your body is handled differently. In the case of an injury to your body, including mental issues, the maximum is 500 weeks of workers’ compensation, but this assumes that you have a certain percentage of function that allows you to work. This means you will qualify for a certain percentage of the 500 weeks. In the case of an injury that precludes you from any type of work, you are still eligible for lifetime benefits. This makes it different from an injury to your limbs. With your limbs, there is an absolute maximum of 250 weeks because it is assumed that you will be able to do some type of work even if you are missing a limb.
These are just a few changes to workers’ compensation. Whether you have questions about filing for workers’ compensation or have had a claim denied, you should always consult an attorney. Equally important, you should be aware that once you are collecting benefits, there are many issues that may still affect you, especially how long you will be eligible for these benefits.