In addition to the right to medical care, there are four types of monetary benefits an injured worker may be owed - temporary total disability, temporary partial disability, permanent partial disability and total disability. The different kinds of workers' compensation benefits owed depends upon your circumstances. The weekly benefit amount will depend on your wages prior to your injury.
If you have a work injury, which is not being disputed by your employer, you are entitled to reimbursement for travel expenses related to your treatment. This typically involves payment based upon the number of miles traveled to and from medical and physical therapy appointments. Frequently, injured workers are told that because they are only traveling a short distance for their appointment, they are not entitled to workers' compensation mileage reimbursement. This is not true. If the employer or insurance company is not paying your mileage expenses, this may mean there are other benefits you are being denied as well.
Sometimes an injury or medication will prevent an injured worker from driving themselves to and from appointments. If this is the case for you, the employer or insurance company must provide you with transportation to and from medical appointments, and in some cases, to and from any light duty work you are being offered.
Temporary Total Disability
If an employer-approved physician restricts you from work for more than three days due to your injury, you are entitled to temporary total disability (TTD) benefits. This applies even if the three days off work aren’t consecutive days. Sometimes the physician will specifically say “no work.” Other times, the physician will impose certain restrictions which the employer is unable to accommodate.
Once you have missed more than three days due to the physician’s restrictions, the employer or its insurance company should begin issuing you a workers' comp check on a weekly basis. This payment should continue until you have returned to work or have been released from medical treatment.
Temporary Partial Disability
You are entitled to temporary partial disability (TPD) benefits when (1) your employer returns you back to work following an injury or (2) you are making less money on "light duty" than before your injury.
For example, you may be offered fewer hours or a lower hourly wage than before the work injury took place. Also, if you consistently worked overtime hours before your injury, but are now limited to 40-hour weeks, you may be entitled to TPD benefits.
Permanent Partial Disability
When you complete your medical treatment, but you have not fully recovered from your injury, you may be entitled to permanent partial disability (PPD) benefits. If you still have symptoms or limitations as a result of your injury, you should be evaluated by the employer's physician for a functional impairment rating. If the employer or insurance carrier refuses to evaluate you for this functional impairment rating, contact an attorney.
Typically, employers and insurance companies will pay PPD benefits based upon the functional impairment rating provided by its physician. However, this may not be the entire amount of compensation to which you are entitled.
This table will clarify how insurance companies typically break down these injuries…
||12 times the statewide average weekly wage
|Loss of hearing
If your work injury prevents you from returning to full-time employment, you may be entitled to total disability benefits. If this is the case, you should receive weekly compensation for the rest of your life. However, employers and insurance companies never provide this compensation voluntarily.
Weekly Benefit Amount
If you're injured, your weekly benefit amount is an extremely important factor in your workers' compensation claim. Except in rare circumstances, the weekly benefit amount is what you'll receive on a weekly basis for both your healing period and permanency benefits.
As long as the amount is calculated correctly, it is not subject to change, and there is no cost of living increase in your weekly benefit amount. Because the weekly benefit amount is such an extremely important factor, it is critical the amount be properly calculated the first time.
According to the workers' compensation statutes, there are numerous ways weekly benefits can be calculated. Unfortunately, we often discover the weekly benefit amount has been miscalculated for our clients. These miscalculations by the insurance company can shortchange injured workers by several dollars, or even hundreds of dollars, per week.
Due to the importance of a proper weekly benefit calculation, we recommend you review the calculations with an attorney experienced in Iowa workers' compensation and in calculating benefits.
Contact Wertz Law Firm at 319-861-3001 with any questions or concerns you have about your work-related injury.