Workers’ Compensation Attorneys – Duties of the Employer

If workers are injured on the job, employers can refer them to their insurance company’s worker’s compensation system for high-quality medical care, rapid payment of benefits, and a quick return to work.

Unless they qualify for Self-Insured status, Iowa employers must carry Workers’ Compensation insurance unless they meet particular standards. Employers usually cannot be sued by their employees who are hurt on the job, to recover damages, medical care, medical expenses, other medical bills, or lost pay.

Schedule a free initial consultation with an experienced Des Moines workers’ compensation lawyer at Mueller, Schmidt, Mulholland & Cooling today. Our personal injury attorneys understand employment law and are ready to handle your case.

Workers’ Compensation Claim

Workers’ compensation pays benefits to employees who have been injured on the job or who have developed an illness, disease, or disability as a result of working conditions. Workers’ compensation insurance is required by most employers.

Workers’ compensation rules differ from one state to the next and can be rather complex. Hiring an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer will help a worker understand their basic rights under the Iowa workers’ compensation system and know the duties of an employer.

Workers’ Compensation Benefits

Medical Benefits, Temporary Disability Benefits, and Permanent Disability Benefits are the three types of benefits that an employer must provide under Iowa workers’ compensation law. The employer and insurance carrier are obligated to offer and pay for any medical care required as a result of a workplace injury or work-related illness.

The employer has the authority to select a doctor, but both the insurance company and the employer are responsible for covering all medical expenses. They must also compensate for the costs of gasoline and the usage of a vehicle for an employee’s medical visits (mileage expense).

Duties of the Employer After a Workplace Injury

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) a business owner and employer are responsible for ensuring a safe working environment for all employees, including regular office workers and telecommuters (those working from home). When an employee is injured while on the job, an employer as duties to the employee, including:

  • Medical Response: The first step after an accident is to determine the level of emergency. You should dial 911 if the injured person requires immediate medical attention. If the injuries are minor but require medical attention, you may be able to call a medical advice hotline through your workers’ compensation insurance to seek advice on whether urgent care or the emergency room is the best option.
  • Reporting the Injury: As soon as possible, you should notify the workers’ compensation insurance carrier of the injury. The claims adjuster may be able to answer your questions and fill in any gaps, so the sooner you contact them, the less likely you are to overlook something.

Despite their terrible nature, workplace accidents frequently serve as a wake-up call for additional safety measures or employee training. Employers can learn about best practices for workplace safety by working with their workers’ compensation insurance provider and the Iowa workers’ compensation agency.

Duties of the Employer to Have Workers’ Compensation Insurance

Employers are required by employment law and Iowa law to acquire workers’ compensation insurance for their employees, this is separate from an employee’s personal health insurance. The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) requires employers to offer employee job-protected leave in the event of injury (medical issues) or family issues. Larger firms with sufficient assets in some states are permitted to self-insure, or function as their own insurance companies, but smaller businesses (fewer than three or four employees) are exempt.

Employers must allow their employees to take leave for their injuries without discrimination or harassment. Additionally, employee handbooks should outline the employer and employee responsibilities when it comes to workplace injury. It should also include state and federal law, which includes the FLMA, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), and the American with Disabilities Act (ADA).

When a worker gets hurt on the job, they would file a claim with the insurance company (or self-insuring employer), who then pays medical and disability payments based on a state-approved formula. Employers who do not have workers’ compensation insurance are susceptible to fines, criminal prosecution, and civil liabilities unless they fall under certain exempt categories.

Additional Duties of the Employer During a Workers’ Compensation Claim

In some cases, you may be able to sue your employer instead, but in most states, workers’ compensation is the sole option for workplace injuries. This is why failing to provide workers’ compensation insurance benefits can lead to severe penalties for the offending employer.

In most states, employers must undertake some, if not all, of the following tasks in addition to providing workers’ compensation coverage:

  • At each working site, post a notification of compliance with workers’ compensation rules in a prominent location.
  • Fill out an injury report and send it to the nearest workers’ compensation board office. A copy of the report should be sent to the employer’s insurance provider as well.
  • Make a written record of every accident resulting in bodily harm that requires more than basic/first-aid medical care or causes a loss of time from usual tasks beyond the working day or shift on which the event happened.

Additionally, an employer must comply with all requests from the workers’ compensation board or the insurance company for additional information about injured workers, such as statements of the employee’s earnings before and after the accident, reports of the employee’s return to work date, or other reports that may be required to determine the employee’s work status following the injury.

Duties of the Employer After a Workers’ Compensation Claim Has Been Accepted

Following the filing of a workers’ compensation claim, the insurance adjuster, injured employee, and medical providers may contact you with questions or requests for information. Because the claims process is time-sensitive, you should respond to these questions as soon as possible.

As an employer, you may need to interact with other employees who witnessed the incident or have information about it on a frequent basis to ensure that they provide timely input to the claims investigation. Encouragement of accountability may speed up the claims process, allowing everyone to return to work sooner.

Des Moines Workers’ Compensation Attorneys at MSMC Law Firm

For a free consultation, contact the law offices of Mueller, Schmidt, Mulholland & Cooling in Des Moines, Iowa today for legal advice. Once an attorney-client relationship has been established, we will immediately begin working on your claim. Your case will be handled by one of our skilled Iowa workers’ compensation attorneys. Employment law attorneys are also responsible for providing legal services to employers for workers’ compensation claims.

You can find our contact information online or call us at (515) 444-4000 MSMC’s workers’ compensation and personal injury attorneys in Des Moines can assist injured workers with their personal injury claims, workers’ compensation claims, and benefits negotiations with insurance companies.


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