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Types of Work Injuries Overview

Workplace accidents occur on a daily basis. Workers in all jobs and sectors are subjected to a wide range of injury and illness risks, from shattered bones to back pain to viruses. Each year, these dangers render millions of people unable to perform their jobs, either temporarily or permanently. The National Safety Council’s (NSC) statistics on the most common workplace injuries show how prevalent it is for all sorts of injured employees to miss work due to workplace accidents and other occurrences.

If you are injured while at work or on a work-related trip, you should contact an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer immediately. The Iowa workers’ compensation lawyers at the law firm of Mueller, Schmidt, Mulholland & Cooling will act quickly to preserve your rights and pursue all benefits and additional compensation you are entitled to after an accident.

Common Workplace Injuries

Workplace accidents can occur at any time or place and in any manner. However, according to the National Safety Council, OSHA, and data compiled annually by Liberty Mutual Insurance from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and the National Academy of Social Insurance, these are the top 10 most common types of accidents sustained by workers:

  • Crush Injuries: A common injury suffered by workers is being impaled by or stuck between two objects resulting in serious injuries. This can cause brain injury, head injury, back injury, and organ damage.
  • Electrocution: Typically, you will see workers in industries like plumbing, electric, home repair, and cable experience a high risk of electrocution. However, any worker exposed to electrical cables and outlets can experience electrocution while on the job.
  • Entanglement: When working with heavy machinery or with intricate tools, clothing and loose jewelry can be caught in a machine, causing serious injuries and even amputations.
  • Falling from High Areas: This is most common in construction-type professions where workers are required to climb on ladders, roofs, scaffolding, and various elevated platforms.
  • Harassment and Violence: Some work atmospheres can cause tension between workers, which can result in fights, harassing gestures, or other violent tendencies that can lead to serious injuries such as broken bones, excessive bruising, or brain damage.
  • Hit by an Object: Many professionals work in areas with heavy machinery and where there are many moving parts, people, and objects. Even when safety guidelines are being followed, being struck by an object is still a common occurrence in many workplaces.
  • Motor Vehicle Accidents: This includes delivery trucks, semi-truck, passenger vehicles, and Uber/Lyft accidents. Many Americans will use some type of vehicle during the week for their job, whether they are a delivery person or a salesman.
  • Overexertion: This is one of the top leading causes of workplace injuries for truck drivers and delivery drivers. They are constantly trying to meet deadlines and will work for 12+ hours a day. Healthcare professionals also cite overexertion as a leading cause of workplace injury.
  • Repetitive Motion: The most common injuries sustained are neck issues and carpal tunnel syndrome from using the same instrument or sitting in the same position every day. This is experienced by many healthcare professionals and those in office-related positions.
  • Slip and Fall Accidents: Any type of occupation can experience slip and fall accidents. There are many hazards that can occur in the workplace. It is an employer’s responsibility to remove the hazards or, at the very least, inform the employees of the hazard.

Many workplace accidents can be avoided when proper guidelines and regulations are in place. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is in effect to ensure workplace safety. They commonly publish
press releases and guidelines for workplace safety. If these are properly followed, job injuries can be reduced.

Categories of Workers’ Compensation Claims

Workers’ Compensation Claims can be divided into three categories based on the severity of the injury: medical, disability, and death. This is a broad classification; in reality, they are divided into seven categories, four of which are disability subclasses. Medical care, temporary disability, permanent disability, additional job displacement, and death benefits are the most common types of workers’ compensation claims filed in Iowa.

The seven (7) main categories for workers’ compensation claims in Iowa are:

  1. Death: You may be eligible for death benefits if you were a dependent of someone who died as a consequence of a workplace injury. A surviving spouse may be eligible for death benefits for the rest of their life or until they remarry. Until they turn 18, dependent children are entitled to death payments, or if they are truly dependent, they can receive benefits until age 25. Other people who were dependent on the deceased worker may be eligible for death benefits. The surviving spouse is entitled to a two-year settlement if the deceased worker has no dependent children at the time of the remarriage. In addition to the weekly death benefits, the employer (or its insurance carrier) of the deceased worker must pay acceptable burial expenditures not exceeding twelve times the statewide average weekly wage in force at the time of death.
  2. Medical Only All reasonable and necessary medical care required to treat your injury must be paid for by your employer. This includes reimbursement for mileage expenses to go to your necessary medical appointments. Mileage for the personal use of a car is paid at a rate of 56 cents per mile for traveling to and from medical treatment.
  3. Permanent Partial Disability: You may be eligible for PPD benefits if your job accident results in permanent impairment to your body, a permanent restriction, or an inability to earn an income comparable to those earned before your disability. The PPD benefits are paid in addition to the benefits paid during the recovery period.
  4. Permanent Total Disability: If your work-related injury prevents you from returning to any form of wage-earning work, you may be eligible for permanent total disability benefits during the time you are unable to work.
  5. Temporary Partial Disability: You may be eligible for benefits if you return to work at a lower-paying job as a result of your accident. The benefit amount is 66.6666% of the difference between your typical gross weekly earnings before you were injured and your actual earnings while working at a lower-paying job temporarily. The above-mentioned three-day waiting period also applies to temporary partial disability.
  6. Temporary Total Disability: If you are out of work for more than three calendar days due to an injury, you may be eligible for TTD benefits, which begin on the fourth day and last until you return to work or are medically recovered enough to return to similar work, whichever comes first. You may be entitled to compensation for the three-day waiting period benefits, if you are out of work for more than 14 calendar days.
  7. Vocational Rehabilitation: If you are actively engaging in a vocational rehabilitation program to help you return to gainful employment following your injury, you may be eligible for a payment of $100.00 per week for up to 13 weeks. The workers’ compensation commissioner may extend the $100.00 for another 13 weeks if you continue in vocational rehabilitation.
    Iowa Vocational Rehabilitation Services (IVRS) helps people with disabilities prepare for, find, and keep jobs.

Workers’ compensation law can be complex and complicated when it comes to what benefits are offered for different classifications of injuries. Documentation is key, and you should always keep track of all medical bills and medical expenses related to your job injuries.

Time Limitations for Workers’ Compensation Benefits

Under Iowa Code Section 85.23, you may be denied benefits if your employer did not receive notice or learn of your work injury within 90 days of its occurrence. When you knew or should have known that your injury or illness was related to your work, the 90-day period starts.

If an employee reports a job-related injury and misses more than three days of work or suffers permanent injury or death as a result of the incident, the employer must file the first report of injury. The employer (or its carrier) must file the first report with the Workers’ Compensation Commissioner within four days of receiving notification or knowledge of the alleged injury.

As stated in Iowa Code Chapter 85.26, if you do not receive weekly Iowa workers’ compensation benefits or file an arbitration claim (Petition for Arbitration) within two years of your stated injury, your benefits may be denied.

If you have received weekly workers’ compensation payments in Iowa, you have three years from the last payment of those benefits to request additional benefits voluntarily or file a challenged claim for workers’ comp benefits. You may be denied additional weekly payments if you do not file within the three-year timeframe. You have the option of filing a contested case or accepting medical benefits that are reasonable and required to treat your injury for the rest of your life.

Contact the Iowa Workers’ Compensation Attorneys at Mueller, Schmidt, Mulholland & Cooling, PLLC

The majority of employees who are injured while working in Iowa are entitled to benefits. However, certain classes of employees are exempt from the rule. Consult with a Workers’ Compensation lawyer for legal advice and to determine your eligibility for workers’ comp benefits.

Contact the law firm of Mueller, Schmidt, Mulholland & Cooling, PLLC in Des Moines, IA today to schedule a free consultation to get started on your claim with one of our experienced Iowa workers’ compensation lawyers. Our contact information can be found online, or you can call us at (515) 444-4000 The Des Moines workers’ compensation attorneys and personal injury lawyers at MSMC can help injured workers with their personal injury claim, workers’ compensation claim, or discuss benefits with the insurance company.