Becoming injured and dealing with what is next can cause confusion and frustration. Not knowing when you’ll be able to go back to work, and even worse, if you will have money coming in. For a smooth work comp claim in Des Moines, make sure you avoid these common mistakes that central Iowa residents happen to make.
1. Initially Choosing Your Own Doctor For Your Work Comp Claim
When you’re injured, seeing a familiar face such as your family doctor can make a situation a bit less stressful but as much as you’d like to pick the doctor’s, your employer has the right to direct and choose the medical care providers. If you do choose to pick your own provider, your employer will not pay for the care. Iowa law states that the employer has the right to pick your care provider for a work injury. If you have been going to your own provider for a work injury, notify your employer immediately and ask them to send you to a doctor for care.
If you are dissatisfied with your care from the employer’s medical provider, you may be able to force the employer to switch care to a different provider through a process called an alternate care hearing. This is a process where you file a petition with a judge and tell them why you are dissatisfied with your care. It is not enough to not agree with or dislike your physician.
In order to win an alternate care proceeding, you need to prove that the care provided by the employer is unreasonable. Some examples of unreasonable care are:
a. Failing to send you to a doctor in a timely manner;
b. Failing to approve medical treatment prescribed by the doctor directed by the employer;
c. When a doctor treats you in an extremely rude manner to the degree where you do not have confidence in their recommendations;
d. When a doctor is not providing any treatment, etc.
For more information, visit our blog post that dives into more depth about choosing a doctor for your work comp claim. If you think you need to file for alternate care to change doctors, it will be very beneficial to consult with an attorney to help you with the process.
2. Failing To Report Your Work Injury In Iowa
As we have stated before, the earlier you mention an injury to your employer, the better off you will be. If you have been injured at work due to falling from scaffolding, and other high heights, electrocutions, equipment problems, repetitive stress, or even toxic substances you must let your employer know right away to ensure you get the proper workers compensation care. Iowa work comp laws gives you 90 days to report an incident. A date can sometimes be difficult to determine especially if it is conditions that develop gradually. If you fail to report the injury within that time frame, you will be out of luck for receiving proper work comp benefits.
3. Not Documenting Detailed Information Of The Situation
One of the most important events of your work-related injury besides getting immediate care, and notifying your employer, is to document the situation. Take photos, videos, and writing down specific details such as recalling what happened, where you were at and any other information that may be valuable to your work comp case. Many people think notifying someone at their business is sufficient, but having documentation is important to have not just for the present situation, but if the injury causes any long-term issues you will easily be able to recall what happened. Not only should you document your injury location and details of the injury, but documenting the care you received. If you’re doing any kind of physical therapy, document the exercises and how you feel during and afterwards. It’s also important note any medication that you’re taking. You can never have too much documentation. We’ve seen many instances where documentation wasn’t available and it really limits the care that one can receive.
Many workers compensation cases are won or lost shortly after the injury because workers make the above errors in their claim.
If you have questions about the workers compensation process, and want a trusted attorney in Des Moines, IA to review your information, or simply want to speak to a lawyer near you don’t hesitate to contact the Nick Platt Law office.