Workers Compensation Guide For Injured Workers

repetitive stress injury des moines

Image courtesy of Praisaeng &

You never think it’ll happen to you, but when it does, you need to know your rights. We’ve outlined the most common workers’ comp questions about insurance, benefits, and the forms you’ll need. The following information only reflects the Iowa Workers’ Compensation law. If you live elsewhere, seek out the correct legal information from a trusted resource.

What is workers’ compensation?

Iowa’s workers’ compensation law mandates that most companies provide benefits to employees who get injured in the workplace. Injuries can also include hearing loss and diseases that have been contracted due to poor working conditions.

What is a workers compensation claim?

The claim is the formal paperwork you need to fill out to be able to collect workers’ compensation. It’s best to file the claim as soon as possible after you get injured since the insurance company is more likely to accept the claim and provide you benefits. Benefits are not automatic, but you do need to submit a claim to have a chance at receiving compensation.

What forms do I need to fill out?

When you’re injured on the job, your employer will give you the proper paperwork to fill out. The forms you’ll receive depend on your state, the type of injury or sickness, and who insures your company. You’ll return the forms when you’re finished so your employer can file the claim. You shouldn’t have to worry about a thing!

What does work comp pay?

It depends on your situation. If you need to travel for treatment, you can get reimbursed 53.5 cents per mile, and if you have to leave work for the treatment, you may get repaid those lost wages. If you’re placed on disability, that’s a different story.

On disability, you can get paid up to 80% of your spendable earnings, or the wages you normally receive after tax. There are many different types of disability benefits as well as second injury fund benefits and vocational rehab benefits. Speak to your lawyer to find out which you qualify for.

Who pays for my benefits?

Most companies have workers’ compensation insurance, which means the insurance company will be providing benefits. Sometimes the employers pay for it themselves, but there is never any cost to you.

Can I see my normal doctor for treatment?

It depends. The insurance company may require you to see a doctor within their network, meaning your normal physician may or may not qualify. Check with a claims representative to find out your state’s rules and regulations regarding the subject.

Where’s my workers’ comp check?

We encourage prompt payments on a weekly basis so you don’t have to go through more hardship than you already have. Weekly payments for disability begin on the eleventh day of disability. If you aren’t receiving your payment, make sure your employer’s worker’s comp insurance carrier has received a written report of injury, which usually comes from your employer. They also need medical evidence of the injury before they will distribute payment.

If you do not receive payments on time, you might be entitled to collect interest on late payments. You may also be entitled to penalty benefits if your payment is delayed for an unreasonable amount of time.

When can I return to work?

Whenever you get a medical release from your doctor, you should give it to your employer and return to work. Throughout your recovery process, it’s important to keep in touch with your employer and claim representative so that you know exactly what steps to take. You may be able to return to your original job, but if you have new restrictions, you’ll need work with your employer to determine your new job description.

If you need help sorting through your workers’ comp case or claim, Carpenter Law Firm can help. Give us a call at (515) 244-9907 or use the form on our contact page.

What’s The Difference? Personal Injury vs. Workers’ Compensation

Work Comp vs. Personal Injury

Photo courtesy of David Castillo Dominici /

You live in the Des Moines area and just got injured on the job. Now what? You can either file a personal injury lawsuit or a workers’ compensation claim. Here’s the difference between the two:

Workers’ Compensation Case

Filing for workers’ compensation is the more common way to go since most employees are already covered. Workers comp is a state-by-state insurance policy and you do not need proof of fault to receive benefits. In exchange though, you give up your right to sue your employer for personal injury. With workers’ comp cases you just need to prove that the injury happened on the job and is connected to the work the employee did on a daily basis.

Once established, you will receive non-taxable income at two-thirds the amount you were making before the injury. Medical care for the injury, compensation for a permanent injury, and any job retraining you might need are covered. Survivors of those who pass away on the job are also entitled to benefits.

Personal Injury Lawsuit

You can only file a personal injury lawsuit if your employer does not have workers’ compensation insurance and you’re able to prove another person caused your injury, or if the accident happened outside of the workplace. If someone else is at fault, you can be compensated for any damages the injury caused. It can be difficult to prove that, but once you do, you can show proof of the amount of damages from the injury and get reimbursed for them. Settlements often include medical bill coverage, property damage, lost wages, and loss of future earning capacity.

Whether you slipped and fell, developed a chronic back injury, or sprained, strained, or tore a muscle, you can receive compensation. Call us at 515-244-9907 to schedule a free consultation and get your case moving quickly — so you can receive benefits sooner rather than later.

Injured At Work? Start Here…

Des Moines Work InjuriesWork-related injuries can be tough to overcome, but partnering with an experienced lawyer can help ease the pain of the process. Carpenter Law Firm has been in business in the Des Moines area for over 35 years, meaning we’re a name you can trust.

We’ve worked with Des Moines metro citizens who’ve been hit by falling objects or have been involved in a collision, but we’ve also worked with people who’ve been injured at work by slips and falls. Many people don’t know that can be enough to earn you workers compensation. Never disregard hearing loss due to a loud working environment, muscle strains from repetitive movement or from lifting heavy objects, or injuries acquired from walking into sharp objects such as cabinet corners.

The U.S. Department of Labor is continually requiring more and more safety mandates in working environments, but accidents still happen daily. Don’t disregard what you’ve endured. Instead, let us work with you to make things right between you and your employer.

No matter what kind of workplace injury you’ve suffered — we can help. Call us at 515.244.9907 to set up an initial consultation, free of charge. We’ll start with an in-depth discussion, either at the location of your choice or at our offices. Carpenter Law is also open to a meeting time that’s convenient for you. Our availability includes both nights and weekends. As you can see, we’re willing to go to great lengths for your success and to be the work injury attorney that you deserve.

If you’ve suffered a work injury, give Carpenter Law Firm a call. We’ll listen to your situation and make sure you understand the various options.

How To Report A Work Comp Claim in the Des Moines Metro Area

Sometimes a work related injury can’t be settled through communication. Often times, regarding injuries, there is a miscommunication between the employer or the employee. When this happens, you may need a lawyer to step in. If you follow these these two tips on how to report a workers’ compensation claim, you’ll have no issues but if you do come across issues you may need to notify a work comp attorney in central Iowa.

As A Worker:

As a worker in Des Moines, you are responsible to report any incident to your employee as soon as possible. Tell your supervisor immediately, even if you think it’s a minor injury. Make sure that you also seek proper first aid, visit a doctor or go to the emergency room if necessary. You’ll also want to maintain all relevant medical and payment records for possible future use.


The sooner you notify someone, the better off you will be.  A delay may negatively affect your health and may even jeopardize your potential workers compensation benefits. Unless your employer has notice or knowledge of your injury within 90 days of its occurrence, you may be denied benefits. The 90-day period begins to run when you knew or should have known that your injury was related to your work.

Des Moines Work Comp Lawyer:

At times though, proper benefits may not have been received, or you didn’t get the the correct care which may result in a poor recovery. If you feel that you have been treated poorly or fit under any of these instances then contact us at Carpenter Law Firm today!

Regardless of the injury, you are entitled to contact a work comp lawyer. A lawyer in Iowa can help you receive the right medical care and the right workers’ compensation benefits that you are entitled to. If your injury is serious enough and keeps you from working permanently, a lawyer can also advise you about filing for Social Security disability benefits as well.

Seek A Workers’ Compensation Attorney For Sioux City Residents

When you contact Attorney Pat Carpenter’s office, you become our office’s top priority. Carpenter Law Firm of Des Moines, Iowa is committed to serving each Iowan who seeks our services with the most care and urgency possible. We specialize in the fields of workers’ compensation and personal injury law, and we know how delicate and sensitive these cases can be. For decades, we’ve served families and individuals throughout the state, including clients in Siouxland and surrounding areas. Our mission is to help as many Iowans as we can, whether they are hurt at work, injured in a car accident, or grieving the sudden loss of a loved one. Pat Carpenter is here to help Iowans.

We encourage Sioux City residents to call us today. Handling workers’ comp cases in Sioux City, IA has given us the opportunity to meet many of its welcoming and hard-working residents.Throughout the past few decades, Carpenter Law Firm has helped hundreds of Iowans that aren’t in central Iowa with their work comp cases, and you could be next! Don’t let the distance limit your options for the best workers’ comp representation in the state. Your immediate choices following a work injury could mean the difference between receiving compensation or not. Don’t leave anything up to chance if you feel you’ve been unjustly treated by your employer, an insurance company, or an individual. Along with workers’ compensation, we help people in Woodbury, and Plymouth counties and surrounding cities such as Le Mars and Orange City with car accidents, truck accidentsmotorcycle accidents, and wrongful death lawsuits.

You need a team on your side that will make sure that no one takes advantage of you and your employee rights are respected. Carpenter Law Firm always puts our clients first, and they will be the first to tell you in our client testimonials. If you need help taking the first step to getting your life back in order, call us today at 515-244-9907 or contact us online.