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Understanding workers’ compensation: 3 key questions for Iowa employees

On Behalf of | May 28, 2024 | Workers' Compensation

Workers’ compensation is an important program that helps employees who get hurt or sick because of their job. What should Iowa workers know?

What is workers’ compensation?

Workers’ compensation is insurance that gives support to employees who face work-related injuries or illnesses. This can include injuries from accidents like falls. Workers’ comp also helps with ongoing problems like repetitive stress injuries or illnesses from exposure to harmful substances.

This system is designed to ensure that if you are injured or become ill because of your job, you receive the necessary medical care and support to help you recover. Benefits can include:

  • Medical benefits – This covers all necessary medical treatments related to injuries or illnesses from work.
  • Disability benefits – If you have to take time off from work to recover, or if an injury prevents you from working in the future, this benefit compensates for your lost wages.
  • Rehabilitation benefits – If you are unable to go back to your previous job, this benefit covers vocational and physical therapy to help you return to work or train for a new job.
  • Death benefits – If a worker dies from a job-related injury or illness, this provides financial support to their dependents, including coverage for funeral expenses.
  • Travel expenses – This reimburses you for travel costs when you need to get medical treatment related to your work injury or illness.

Iowa’s workers’ compensation system is a no-fault system, which means you can receive benefits no matter who was responsible for the injury. This system ensures that employees are supported and protected if they are injured or become ill because of their job.

Who can receive workers’ comp benefits?

In Iowa, nearly all businesses must have workers’ compensation insurance to cover their employees. This includes everyone from full-time and part-time workers to seasonal staff and even family members working for the company.

However, there are some exceptions. Certain farm workers, independent contractors, and business owners who may not be eligible for these benefits.

How can you receive benefits?

It is important to act quickly after an injury on the job. In Iowa, to tell your employer about the injury within 90 days to be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. Your employer should then report your injury to the Iowa Division of Workers’ Compensation, which starts the claims process.

You should also get medical attention and make sure to tell the healthcare provider that your injury happened at work. Sometimes, your employer might direct you to a specific doctor for workers’ compensation cases.

You may also need to fill out several forms during the claim process to provide information about your injuries. Getting help from an attorney can make this process easier and ensure you handle everything correctly.

Dealing with a workplace injury can be tough, but workers’ compensation benefits are there to help you recover and manage financially while you heal.