In Iowa, individuals who are injured during the course of employment are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. Unfortunately, many of these injured employees find that obtaining these benefits is complicated and confusing. Even when an employee appears to have a clear-cut legitimate claim for workers’ compensation, employers and insurance may deny or delay the claim. In other instances, reporting requirements and information can lead to issues with receiving timely benefits.
In these instances it is helpful to at least contact a workers’ compensation attorney. These Iowa attorneys are familiar with the procedures and rules put in place by the Iowa Division of Workers’ Compensation and the statutory requirements of Iowa law. This knowledge gives employees an edge when it comes to obtaining deserved benefits. What else should you expect from your Iowa workers’ compensation lawyer?
Gathering Medical and Other Evidence for Your Iowa Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
A lack of medical evidence can doom a workers’ compensation case. That makes it essential to gather medical records, doctors’ reports, statements, and other documentation of medical costs and expenses. A good workers’ compensation attorney in Council Bluffs, IA will do more than simply gather evidence that already exists. He or she will assess the need to see a professional, get a second opinion, or obtain additional treatment.
Written or recorded statements of doctors and medical experts are crucial in a workers’ compensation case. A lawyer should know what medical experts are available in the Council Bluffs/Omaha area, and whether this evidence is needed in your case. Lastly, taking depositions of managers, insurance representatives, and others could strengthen your claim.
Negotiating, Accepting or Denying a Settlement Offer
To know if an offer is fair requires an understanding of the multitude of different factors that influence settlement. This can include valuation of your injuries, current and future disability, determination if your disability is total or partial, and the impact on your future salary or wages.
A good workers’ compensation lawyer should understand how to incorporate all of these factors into negotiation. As well, a lawyer should have knowledge of negotiation tactics and strategies that make him or her a far more effective representative against the insurance company. You should expect your lawyer to recognize an unreasonably low settlement offer and identify logical arguments to entice a higher offer.
Finalizing a Settlement Agreement
Even contentious workers’ compensation claims can end in settlement. Often this is through the skills of a good lawyer. However, once the terms are set, a document still needs to be drafted and signed. Your workers’ compensation lawyer in Iowa should review this settlement agreement and approve each provision.
You can expect your lawyer to push back on specific provisions or request changes to language within the agreement. This is not uncommon, and is necessary if the agreement is going to accurately reflect the settlement terms. Your lawyer should explain this process to you as it unfolds and help you recognize the potential for risk within any agreement.
Represent You in a Contested Case
In Iowa, a Division of Workers’ Compensation administrative law judge presides over, and rules on WC disputes. While this is not the same as a trial in the state courts, it is helpful to have representation throughout the case and hearing. A lawyer will present the evidence collected earlier and anything learned during due diligence. Rulings from the Workers’ Compensation Commission can be unfavorable. In this instance, a workers’ compensation lawyer can also advise you on filing for an appeal.
Ensure You Are Fully Informed and Comfortable with the Process
Remember, a workers’ compensation attorney should be dedicated to what is in your best interest. In part, this means providing plenty of information and explanation of the workers’ compensation process. When your lawyer makes a decision, it should include your input and approval. If at anytime you don’t understand the reasons for a decision, ask.
The team at Telpner Peterson Law Firm, including attorney Walter Thomas, provide a client-oriented approach to workers’ compensation cases. This means a dedication to informing and communicating with clients. This begins with a free, initial consultation in our Council Bluffs office. To arrange a consultation visit us online or call 712-309-3738.