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Workers’ compensation being withheld? Bad faith may be to blame

Individuals who work in Iowa shouldn’t have to fear for their financial stability in the event of a workplace injury. After all, most employers are required by law to carry workers’ compensation insurance. This means that those who are hurt while performing their job duties should be able to secure workers’ compensation benefits in a timely fashion to help offset their lost wages and medical expenses.

Yet, far too often insurance companies delay paying out on valid claims. For many injured workers, these delays can be financially devastating. They may be put at risk of losing their home and vehicles, and their medical bills may wind up in collections. It may even be challenging for these workers to put food on the table. Some are even forced to turn to high interest loans to make ends meet, which, in turn, can initiate a debt spiral that is difficult to escape from.

Fortunately, legal action can be taken against insurance companies that mishandle claims. Known as bad faith claims, there are many facts that can give rise to this type of legal action. However, each of these factual situations generally result in the breach of some duty owed to a worker. These duties typically include the duty to investigate the claim. In conjunction with that, insurance companies should provide a reason why a claim is denied, and the determination of a claim cannot be unreasonably withheld.

So, Iowans who have been injured on the job need not sit back and accept whatever an insurance company offers them. Instead, they can be proactive in the claims process by trying to understand the insurance company’s actions or inactions. Those who feel that their benefits are being unreasonably withheld or denied without reason, including inadequate investigation of the claim, may have a successful bad faith claim.