The Iowa legislature is trying to make your shoulder injury nothing more than a functional loss. In other words the Iowa legislature along with all the special intersts who donate campaign contributions want you to foot the bill for 90% of what you lose after tearing up your rotator cuff. If you ever wanted to see what big money can buy just look at the changes to Iowa's workers' compensation after this legislative session. Most of you don't even realize it, but you've just been robbed by the people you voted into office.
They are turning the working men and women's losses into an order of small fries. To say it another way, they are ripping you off. They are cheating you for the sake of the trucking companies, the concrete owners, the meat packers and the manufacturers. In other words they want to cheat the injured worker in order to get a larger bonus off of your injured body.
And so, if you injured your neck, your back, your chest or under your arm to include your rib area, you have to say it and say it early and often. If you have any questions call us. Do not fear calling us before you report the injury or shortly after you are injured. Attorney Steve Lombardi, work comp lawyer for the working class.
To know how badly you are getting ripped off, you must understand the difference between a functional loss and an industrial loss. In calculating workers' compensation benefits you will be paid, you must understand the gist of whether we look at a simple number or do a qualitative analysis of the injured worker's earning capacity.
Ooo, big words, but what do they mean?
Here is an example. Let's say you are a concert pianist traveling around the country earning $500,000 per year performing before thousands of people all paying $100 for a seat. To play the piano you need eight fingers and two thumbs. If you lose even one digit you lose the ability to play the piano and to earn $500,000. One dark day, you are involved in an accident and you lose a finger. No one wants to listen to music being played by a nine-digit pianist and so you're concert piano days are over and now you work at McDonalds asking customers if you can Super-Size their fry orders.
Your loss is $490,000 per year. But the scheduled loss won't care that you went from playing concerts to working the drive-thru line. Your loss of earning capacity falls on deaf ears when the injury is to a scheduled loss. In this instance a finger is worth at most, 60 weeks of benefits. It could be worth as little as 20 weeks. In dollars and cents the difference is night and day. The one gets you $20,000, the other $500,000, in compensation for your losses. Depending on how your injury affects your ability to earn a living like yours did, your industrial disability claim could be 500 weeks.
Even though the concert pianist can no longer earn $500,000 annually, she will get only 20 weeks of compensation. ($20,000 vs $400,000 in losses you will receive.) If we were to evaluate her losses from an industrial point of view, she would likely get 400 weeks of compensation. Again, the difference in dollars and cents is hundreds of thousands of dollars. The schedule pays you pennies and the employer fires you. The industrial valuation takes into consideration that you will be fired and shoving French fries across a counter. The schedule doesn't care that right after the hearing the employer intends to fire you.
WHAT DOES ALL THIS MEAN TO YOU? HOW DO YOU FIGHT BACK?
Which means, right at the beginning of your claim, you need to think before describing your injury either on the accident report, the First Report of Injury, to the company nurse or at the first medical appointment. The company doctor is going to try and minimize your injury by isolating it to just the shoulder. Do not make the mistake of trusting the company doctor. They play golf at the same country clubs as does your employer.
Another thing you can do is think about taking a witness with you to the appointments. A spouse if always a good witness. Don’t argue, but be there to witness what the injured workers describes as the injured area. The witness needs to listen very carefully as to how you described the injured body parts as not simply to a shoulder.
In the past we could easily fix stupid with amending the claim via the Petition, but now the fight will be greater and meaner than ever, they will limit the extent of your injury to just the shoulder. When that happens you're entitled to a $5 coupon for a free burger at McDonalds.
And so, if you injured your neck, your back, your chest or under your arm to include your rib area, you have to say it and say it early and often.
If you have any questions call us. Do not fear calling us before you report the injury or shortly after you are injured.