Workers who get hurt on the job can receive workers’ compensation benefits. Instead of going without any income, workers can receive up to two-thirds of their average weekly wage until they recover enough to get back to work.
Unfortunately, some injured workers in Iowa will have medical conditions serious enough to prevent them from going back to work indefinitely. They may have permanent symptoms that prevent them from working the same job or performing any kind of full-time work.
What happens if your injury doesn’t improve enough for you to return to work?
You will need to undergo a thorough evaluation
To qualify for permanent medical benefits through the Iowa workers’ compensation system, you will typically need to undergo a thorough medical evaluation. A physician can review your condition and will determine if you have a disability of your body as a whole or a scheduled member, meaning a certain part of your body.
There are special rules that apply to your various body parts, from your thumbs to your eyes. There are even rules for compensation when you permanently lose your hearing or suffer a disfiguring injury to the face or head. Losing a thumb can mean receiving 60 weeks of benefits, while the loss of your fourth finger will only lead to 20 weeks of benefits. Someone who has a disability affecting their body as a whole, also called an industrial disability, can receive up to 500 weeks of benefits.
The doctor’s analysis determines what benefits you receive
In some cases, the physician overseeing a worker’s treatment may determine that there are certain accommodations that would allow someone to return to work safely. Provided that your employer can provide those accommodations, you should be able to expect support so that you can return to gainful employment.
Your medical benefits will continue for as long as you have residual symptoms. However, there may be limits on what medical treatment you can receive. If the doctor overseeing your care determines that you have achieved maximum medical improvement, you may only qualify for treatments that manage your persistent symptoms or additional care if you have a future flare-up of your prior symptoms.
Workers who realize they may never go back to their prior job may have an uphill battle to get the kind of coverage they require. Learning more about your rights as someone who needs workers’ compensation benefits because they can’t go back to work we’ll make supporting yourself easier despite your condition.