Bad Faith Workers’ Compensation Lawyers
If you have been injured at work and your benefits have been denied by your employer or their insurance carrier, you may have a bad faith claim. Taking time off work while recovering from a work injury can already be a difficult situation for you and your family, and when you're unfamiliar with workers' compensation laws, it only makes the situation more stressful. This is the type of scenario our work comp bad faith lawyers in Des Moines want to help you solve.
Insurance companies have a duty to promptly pay medical and indemnity benefits when those they cover have sustained compensable work injuries. Unfortunately, work comp cases are denied in bad faith in Iowa each and every day. At Mueller, Berg & Schmidt, we have over 50 years of experience protecting and fighting for the rights of injured employees. Let us put our experience and our team of workers’ compensation lawyers to work for you today.
What is Workers' Compensation Bad Faith?
Generally, when an employee is injured and entitled to workers’ compensation benefits, the employer is immune from other liabilities for that injury. However, the exclusive remedy provision of Iowa’s workers’ compensation laws do not protect the employer’s insurance carrier from liability for bad faith denial of claims and/or delay in payment of benefits.
When you are injured on the job and your employer has workers’ compensation insurance, the insurance company cannot unreasonably delay or deny your benefits. Iowa insurance companies are required to act in good faith and provide benefits in a reasonably prompt manner.
Need help with workers’ compensation bad faith issues?
You may be a victim of bad faith if the insurance carrier:
- Fails to accept a compensable claim for benefits
- Unreasonably delays making a coverage determination
- Unreasonably delays or denies your worker’s compensation benefits without a reasonable basis for doing so
- Fails to thoroughly investigate your claim
- Underestimates the extent of your losses to avoid paying you the true value of your claim
If you believe any of the above circumstances apply to you, it is important to be proactive in protecting your rights because you may be entitled to damages. When an insurance carrier acts in bad faith when denying a claim for workers' compensation benefits, an injured worker may be entitled to an award of penalty benefits. This penalty award is in addition to what they would have recovered if their workers' compensation claim was appropriately handled from the beginning. Furthermore, when an insurer fails to act reasonably when handling a workers' compensation claim, you can bring a bad faith lawsuit against the insurer in district court. As part of this civic lawsuit, injured workers can recover damages for past and future pain and suffering, and in some situations, punitive damages – both of which are not allowed in a typical workers' compensation claim.
While you can file a complaint against the insurer yourself, we strongly recommend you seek the assistance of a lawyer if the insurance company has acted in bad faith. The Iowa Court of Appeals recently held that if penalty benefits were not awarded as part of a workers’ compensation action because the carrier’s denial of benefits was reasonable, then bad faith cannot be awarded as part of a civil claim in district court due to issue preclusion. This holding makes it crucial your bad faith claim is handled properly from the beginning in order to hold insurance carriers accountable for valuing profits over their contractual duties.
Contact The Mueller, Berg & Schmidt Des Moines Law Firm
Our lawyers have handled a number of bad faith claims, in addition to handling the underlying workers' compensation case. The attorneys of Mueller, Berg & Schmidt are here to protect your rights from beginning to end of your claim. Our workers' compensation lawyers and staff are here to answer your questions or concerns throughout the process in what can be a trying time for you and your family. We understand the injured workers we represent are only in need of assistance because somewhere along the way the workers’ compensation system has failed them. At Mueller, Berg & Schmidt, we will work diligently to exceed your expectations, restore your faith in the system and maximize your recovery.
If you believe you are the victim of a bad faith denial of your workers’ compensation claim, then give us a call today to schedule a consultation to discuss your options. Our purpose is the same for each case, no matter what the details are: our workers’ compensation lawyers want to protect your rights and fight for your best interest. Let us put our staff with 50 years of experience to work for you today.