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

Des Moines Disability And Injury Legal Blog

Iowa construction company fined for deadly workplace accident

Going to work shouldn't be a potentially deadly activity. Yet, every day many workers in Iowa find themselves in this position. Sometimes the dangers are inherent to the job in question. In other cases, though, employees fail to provide their employees with a safe work environment.

This may have been the situation for one Iowan who was killed in a workplace accident. The Iowa Occupational Safety and Health Administration has blamed the deceased worker's employer, Bridge City Construction, claiming that it failed to provide adequate training about hazards at the worksite. These hazards include dangerous conditions overhead as well as ground conditions. The regulatory agency came to this conclusion because the worker was killed when he was pinned between a building beam and the controls of an aerial lift.

How long will one receive workers' compensation if approved?

Some workplace accidents in Iowa are relatively minor, allowing a worker to get back on the job quickly. Other workers, though, suffer more extensive injuries that require a wide variety of medical treatment and a significant recovery time. The individuals in the latter group often struggle to find financial stability during a time when they are unable to work and they are in need of costly health care. In these circumstances, it becomes even more important for injured workers to competently seek workers' compensation benefits.

Fortunately, the state provides a table that helps injured workers who qualify for benefits determine how long they can receive benefits while they recover. For example, an individual who loses 100 percent of his ability to use his thumb can receive workers' compensation benefits for up to 60 weeks. An individual who loses 100 percent of their whole body can receive benefits for 500 weeks. Those who only suffer a portion of loss, such as 25 percent of the use of their thumb, can multiply that percentage by the maximum number of weeks under full disability.

7 safety tips for any workplace

Every workplace has its own hazards. For some, it's heavy machinery. For others, it's falls from heights. For still others, it's exposure to dangerous substances.

The key to staying safe is consistency. You need to know what you can do every day to protect yourself. With this focus on safety, you can work to avoid serious injuries that will change the course of your life.

Social Security disability and traumatic brain injury

A traumatic brain injury can occur in a number of ways. An individual in Iowa may be seriously hurt in a car accident, a workplace incident or a slip-and-fall accident. Some are even born with traumatic brain injuries. Regardless of how the injury is suffered, victims are often left with a hard road ahead of them. They may struggle to care for themselves on a day-to-day basis, which usually means that they are unable to work, too. When this is the case, a traumatic brain injury sufferer may be able to seek Social Security disability benefits to offset some of their financial losses.

To qualify for SSD benefits, an individual must meet federal requirements. This can be accomplished in one of a number of ways. The first way to qualify is to show that an individual suffers from extreme limitations due to problematic motor functioning involving at least two extremities. These limitations must affect basic skills such as standing, walking or using one's arms. In addition, the limitations must be expected to last for at least three months post-injury.

Examples of employer and insurer bad faith

Being injured on the job is no small thing. It can leave you with extensive pain that can last for weeks or months, and it can leave you facing financial uncertainty as you struggle to find a way to pay medical expenses and make up for lost wages. This is where a workers' compensation claim should help. Sadly, far too many Iowa residents find themselves struggling to work with their employer and their employer's workers' compensation insurer. This can cause claims to stagnate and financial uncertainty to grow.

The good news is that an injured worker may be justified in taking legal action against these parties when those parties are acting in bad faith. As we discussed previously on our blog, a bad faith claim can be successful if it can be shown that the initial claim was likely to be successful and the reasons for withholding the benefits is unreasonable. But how do you figure out what is unreasonable?

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.

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