HOFFMANN LAW FIRM, PC 

WARNING: These questions and answers concern Iowa law only, and should not be construed nor relied upon as reflecting the law in other States, nor as giving legal advice. You are warned that circumstances often vary greatly and that, due to changing decisions and law, the answers to these questions may change over time and not be current, and you should consult an attorney in any specific case, and NOT rely on these questions and answers as giving anything other than general information.

Advertising - Area of Practice - Confidentiality & Waivers - Eligibility - Emergency Medical Care - Independent Contractor - Mediation - Medical Care - Medical Insurance - Notice - Physician Claimant - Rate - Secondhand Smoke - Settlement - Small Business Issues - Statute of Limitations - Termination of Weekly Benefits - What to Expect - Who Can Claim Iowa Benefits - Wrongful Termination of Employment

ADVERTISING:

Q: Is it ethical for attorneys to advertise in Iowa? ANSWER (top)

AREA OF PRACTICE:

Q: What do the attorney ads mean? Various attorneys or firms list an area of practice, or say "practice limited to...," or "practicing primarily in...," or "general practice including but not limited to..." Are there differences? ANSWER (top)

CONFIDENTIALITY & WAIVERS:

Q: Is an injured worker required to provide a waiver in order to make a claim for workers' compensation benefits in Iowa?

Q: The Commissioner's office must keep certain information filed with the office confidential. What does this cover?

Q: Can the waiver provided to a current employer be used to obtain records from an old employer against whom a claim was made years ago?

Q: Can an employer call the Commissioner's office to find out what other claims an injured worker has made in the past?

Q: Can disclosure of information which is highly personal or embarrassing, but has no relationship to a claim, be withheld?

Q: Can an injured worker just give their medical information to their attorney to keep it from being disclosed to the employer and their insurer? ANSWERS (top)

ELIGIBILITY:

Q: Is there any set period of time a worker must be employed before being eligible to receive worker's compensation benefits for a work injury? ANSWER (top)

EMERGENCY MEDICAL CARE:

Q: Is an employer liable for payment of medical care it arranges in response to a personal sudden emergency?

Q: Can an employer, or their carrier, be held liable for payment for emergency medical care they did not authorize? ANSWERS (top)

INDEPENDENT CONTRACTOR:

Q: Who is an independent contractor, or an employee?

Q: Why should anyone care? ANSWERS (top)

MEDIATION:

Q: How does mediation work? 

Q: How long does this take? If mediation is scheduled for three hours, is this all the time we can use?

Q: The mediator seems to be picking on my side, are they not supposed to be neutral?

Q: What if we do not reach an agreement?

Q: When can it be done?

Q: If an agreement is reached can either side back out?

Q: Does the adjustor need to be present at the mediation? If they do not attend will they be seen as not taking the claim seriously? ANSWERS (top)

MEDICAL CARE:

Q: An employer/insurance carrier has the right to choose the care that an injured worker receives for an on the job injury. Does this also include the right to say what treatment a doctor may give if they disagree with the course of care recommended? ANSWER (top)

MEDICAL INSURANCE:

Q: If an injured worker is denied recommended medical care, but has group medical coverage through the employer can they turn it in under their group coverage? Can both workers' compensation insurance and group deny my claim? Will the employee be dunned by collection notices if this happens? ANSWER (top)

NOTICE:

Q: What are the notice requirements? If a worker gives late notice does an employer have to turn the claim in to insurance? ANSWER (top)

PHYSICIAN CLAIMANT:

Q: I'm a physician with a local clinic, run by my own professional corporation. Recently, I was on call and received an emergency page. On my way to the hospital, I was injured in an motor vehicle accident. My clinic's workers' compensation carrier has denied my claim, saying it is barred by the "going and coming" rule. My personal attorney says they may be wrong. Is he correct? ANSWER (top)

RATE:

Q: How are an injured worker's Iowa average weekly wage (AWW) and a weekly compensation rate calculated? ANSWER (top)

SECONDHAND SMOKE:

Q: Can a worker who has preexisting asthma, or another personal health condition, aggravated by secondhand smoke recover workers' compensation benefits? ANSWER (top)

SETTLEMENT:

Q: Can a workers' compensation claim be fully settled or closed in Iowa?

Q: What happens to future medical when a lump sum settlement is reached? ANSWERS (top)

SMALL BUSINESS ISSUES:

Q: I'm an owner and officer of a corporation of which I am also an employee. I was injured at work. My insurance agent has told me that I am not eligible for workers' compensation benefits. Is this correct?

Q: I am setting up a small business, I have not finalized whether it will be a corporation or a limited liability company. I will be heavily involved in the day to day operations, which includes running heavy machinery and construction. My insurance agent has told me that I can exclude myself from the workers compensation coverage and save myself a sizable portion of the premium cost. Is this correct? What are the risks and benefits of excluding myself?

Q: Are injured employees who work on commission eligible for workers' compensation? ANSWERS (top)

STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS:

Q: What statutes of limitation apply to Iowa claims for workers' compensation benefits?

Q: We have recently received an official looking form regarding an injury to one of our former employees that took place many years ago, when we had coverage with another workers' compensation insurance carrier. We feel that the statute of limitations has definitely run, may we ignore this document? ANSWERS (top)

TERMINATION OF WEEKLY BENEFITS:

Q: An employee of ours who has been receiving weekly workers' compensation benefits has been released for return to work by the treating physician, but has not done so. Can we terminate these weekly benefits as of the doctor's release date? ANSWER (top)

WHAT TO EXPECT:

Q: I have just authorized my attorney to file a contested case on my behalf, what should I expect?

Q: And, if any party is not happy with the Deputy's decision, what then?

Q: How long does all of this take? ANSWERS (top)

WHO CAN CLAIM IOWA BENEFITS:

Q: Is an owner-operator who, has an ownership interest in the truck he is driving at the time of injury in Iowa covered by the Iowa workers' compensation policy of the company he is under contract with?

Q: I own a small trucking company based outside of Iowa. A driver of ours was injured in an accident in yet another State. He also lives outside Iowa, but says he is planning to bring a workers' compensation claim in Iowa, because he has driven for us there and says the weekly rate is higher in Iowa. Can he get Iowa benefits?

Q: I drive over-the-road for a trucking company based on the East coast. I live in another mid-western State. While driving a load of produce through Iowa, I was injured when I slipped and fell while. Can I bring my claim in Iowa, where I'm told weekly benefits may be higher? ANSWERS (top)

WRONGFUL TERMINATION OF EMPLOYMENT:

Q: Can an injured worker be fired for making a claim for workers' compensation benefits? ANSWER (top)

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