Schott Mauss & Associates, PLLC
Helping Iowans Who Are Injured And Disabled Obtain The Benefit They Deserve

Des Moines Disability And Injury Legal Blog

Scaffolding falls can serve as basis for workers' compensation

The construction industry is a dangerous one. Construction workers in Iowa are often tasked with performing their job duties near heavy machinery and moving vehicles, they are often exposed to toxic substances and they frequently operate at great heights. While regulations are in place to ensure that these workers are as safe as possible while on the job, the sad reality is that many of them wind up injured in workplace accidents.

One way these accidents occur is by scaffolding falls. About two-thirds of all construction workers carry out tasks on scaffolds, which puts them at risk of suffering injuries in a fall. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulates the design and construction of this equipment, mandating that each scaffold hold its own weight in addition to four times the maximum allowable load. In addition, every support rope must be able to handle at least six times the maximum load.

Do you work in an industry where you are likely to get hurt?

The risk of getting hurt on the job is a reality that every worker faces. The Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates that in 2015, approximately three million workers suffered from either an illness or injury that was job-related. Over half of these workers had to take time off work to recover, required a job transfer or had restrictions on the work they could do as a result of the injury or illness. While three million seems high, it was actually a lower rate than in prior years.

Some industries have an inherently higher level of danger than others, but companies have been making progress in promoting safer workplaces. This has played a significant role in reducing the instances of workplace injuries and illnesses. Unfortunately, smaller companies still view the promotion of safety standards as a cost instead of an investment in their workforce. In addition, certain industries also have higher rates of job-related injuries and illnesses. Do you work in one of these high-risk jobs?

Social Security disability's work requirements

The sudden onset of an injury or illness can leave an individual in Iowa facing significant life changes. In some instances, a medical condition can leave a person unable to work. This can create serious financial hardship, as lost wages can leave one in a precarious financial position. Without taking action, these individuals may not be able to secure the relief that they need.

Fortunately, those who suffer from a disability may be able to recover compensation through the Social Security disability system. In order to qualify for these benefits, though, an individual must be able to prove certain things. In addition to proving that his or her condition is truly a disability as defined by the federal government, individuals must show that they meet certain work requirements.

Workers' compensation and lump sum payments

Being injured on the job can give rise to a whole host of problems. Of course, there are the physical limitations that accompany a workplace injury. However, there are also financial losses that may be thrust upon an individual, including medical expenses and lost wages. These financial damages can take quite a toll, leaving an injured worker unsure of how he or she is going to make ends meet.Workers' compensation benefits may provide financial relief, but the periodic payments may not be enough to satisfy an individual's financial needs. This is why those who have been injured in a workplace accident in Iowa may want to consider whether taking a lump sum payment is in their best interest. By taking a full commutation, an injured worker can receive one lump sum payment to help offset lost wages and medical expenses. However, if this lump sum is sought and recovered, then the individual can no longer receive benefits from the workers' compensation system for his or her condition.There are other ways to settle workers' compensation cases so that payments are received quickly. Partial commutation can result in a lump sum of a portion of an individual's benefits while retaining other aspects. Also, workers' compensation benefits can be negotiated and settled for an agreed-upon payment. Therefore, there are a number of options available to injured workers who are seeking to recover the fullest amount of compensation possible, as quickly as possible.Dealing with a workers' compensation claim can be challenging and stressful, especially if an individual is still trying to recover from his or her injuries. This is why qualified legal professionals stand ready to assist these injured workers fight for what they deserve. To learn more about the legal options available to injured workers, an individual can reach out to an experienced attorney with a proven track record in this field.

What is the Compassionate Allowances program for SSD benefits?

The onset of a debilitating injury or illness can be frightening, stressful and overwhelming. While an individual in Iowa must think about how the medical condition will affect his or her health, he or she must also consider how he or she will make ends meet. This can be especially challenging when the medical condition is question is costly to treat and leaves an individual unable to work to earn a wage to pay for that treatment.

Fortunately, Social Security disability benefits may be obtained if a person can show that he or she meets federal requirements. While this is oftentimes a tricky process that requires the submission of extensive medical evidence, the process can be more straightforward for those who are suffering from medical conditions that are obviously disabling. The Social Security Administration recognizes these conditions under the Compassionate Allowances program.

Why are workers' compensation claims denied?

Individuals in Iowa who suffer an injury at work can suddenly find themselves struggling to make ends meet. Unexpected medical expenses, rehabilitation costs and lost wages can eat away at one's savings and leave an injured worker worried about what the future holds for them. Fortunately, these individuals may be able to obtain financial relief through the workers' compensation system. However, many of these claims are initially denied, necessitating an appeal.

There are a number of reasons why workers' compensation claims are denied. One reason a claim may be denied is because the reporting of the injury and/or the filing of the claim failed to adhere to specified timelines. This highlights the importance of quickly reporting an injury or illness to one's employer and taking action to file a workers' compensation claim.

Consider legal help when injured at work

Previously on this blog we discussed repetitive motion injuries and the effect they can have on your ability to work. Unfortunately, these are not the only risks you might face in the workplace. A scaffolding fall, a machinery pinch or crush and exposure to harsh chemicals can all leave you seriously injured and facing significant losses. Amongst these damages are lost wages and medical expenses. You might also need extensive rehabilitation. If your injury or illness keeps you out of work for a period of time, and the injury was suffered at work, then workers' compensation benefits may be sought.

Recovering these benefits may sound easy enough, but the truth of the matter is that the process for obtaining workers' compensation benefits in Connecticut can be fraught with legal complications. Because of these challenges, many Iowa residents end up seeing their initial workers' compensation claims denied, which leaves them without the financial resources they desperately need. There may be several reasons why one's workers' compensation claim is rejected. Amongst these reasons are claims that an injury pre-existed a workplace accident, an employee's own horseplay caused the injury in question and the employee was engaging in a frolic or detour at the time of the injurious incident.

Can I receive both workers' compensation and SSDI benefits?

Most Iowa workers understand that they can receive compensation to help make financial ends meet after a serious injury. Such benefits could include workers' compensation, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or both.

Workers' compensation benefits only apply to workers who suffer injuries during the course and scope of their job activities. SSDI benefits apply to those who suffer disabling injuries that prevent them from working -- whether it's during their job activities or not. SSDI benefits are also provided through the federal Social Security Administration.

The basics of a bad faith claim

If you've been injured on the job in Iowa, then you're probably finding yourself overwhelmed. You might be struggling to ease your pain, and it might be worrisome to say the least to think that you'll no longer have an income on which to support yourself and your family. Of course, you might take relief in the fact that you might be entitled to workers' compensation benefits, but what happens when an insurance company keeps brushing you off to avoid paying out?

If this happens, you shouldn't continue to sit back and wait for the money to which you are entitled. In fact, you may be able to pursue a bad faith claim. Under the law, insurance companies are supposed to act in good faith and act reasonably when it comes to processing claims. When insurance companies act unreasonably and fail to pay benefits, then a bad faith claim may be justified.

Workers' compensation and repetitive motion injuries

Workplace injuries can occur in a variety of ways. Employers failing to provide proper safety equipment or adequate training, third-parties veering into a construction zone, and even inclement weather can all cause a worker to suffer serious injuries. Yet, sometimes injuries are suffered on the job while carrying out one's day-to-day duties. Even in these circumstances, an individual in Iowa may be able obtain workers' compensation benefits.

One of these routine tasks that can cause serious injuries are those that are repetitive in nature. These types of injuries are extremely common, with tendinitis and bursitis leading the way. Tendinitis occurs when a tendon becomes inflamed, usually where it connects to the bone. This condition most often affects the shoulder, biceps and elbow. Bursitis, on the other hand, occurs when a sac meant to lubricate areas of friction inside the body become inflamed. This is most commonly seen in the knees, elbows and hips.

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