Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some initial questions many clients have when they first contact Lombardi Law Firm. The questions below may address many initial concerns you may have. If you don't find the answers here, you should contact us for answers to questions specific to your case. The consultation is free.

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  • Will worker's compensation re-open my claim if the doctor said there is still something wrong with me?

    Question Detail: I was released from my doctor on an injury from work 1 month ago. I have not signed any papers from work comp. 5 weeks after I was released I went back to the doctor and said I was not any better. Something is wrong. Question is, will work comp reopen my claim? I was scheduled for an EMG but work comp denied it. What do I do?

    Answer: The general answer to your question is probably. It all depends on whether or not you previously settled and the terms or form of the settlement. A lawyer will need to talk with you to give you a definitive answer. You should not delay hiring a lawyer because an EMG indicates nerve damage may be involved. You don't get an EMG without first showing signs of nerve involvement with either compression or latency. That means nerves are subject to long term damage and obviously that's not a good thing. 

    Above are two videos on basic workers' compensation law. The first is Workers' Compensation 101, Just the basics and the second is Iowa Workers' Comp - Overriding the Adjuster's Refusal of Medical Care. Watch them both several times so you understand the basics. Good luck and if we can help with your case call the office next week. 

  • How do I initially proceed with an on-the-job injury?

    Question Detail: I "strained" my back while positioning a patient, on Jan 14, 2014. I called my supervisor and left her a message, saying I pulled, strained or sprain my back an hour or so later. I called in 15 and 17th due to back pain. The 16th was a scheduled day off. It was several days later that I mentioned it to my supervisor. She told me she didn't hear the message. She was on a few days of vacation beginning on the 14th. That she would let the employee health nurse know as there was paperwork that had to be completed. On Jan 29 I was in the office, the employee health nurse walked over to me. She said, "A little Birdie told me you hurt your back, but you're feeling better. Do you need to see a doctor?" She then walked away without getting my answer. My back has been hurting off and on since, but getting worse when it hurts. I again called in on Feb. 17 and 19th sending an email to my supervisor, that my back was hurting and I needed to let it rest. 18th was a scheduled day off. On Feb. 20, 2014 there was a reduction in force at my work and I was laid off. I was never given any paperwork or really offered medical attention. I don't have anything in writing, other than my comment in payroll website. That my absence on Jan 15th was due to, "back strain from patient the previous day." Which my supervisor manually approves each daily entry. Is it too late to get medical attention?

    Answer: Simple, just ask your supervisor or the HR department for permission to see a doctor. This accomplishes two things: reporting the injury and the need to obtain medical treatment for the work injury.

  • Can I get workers compensation if I might have been infected by MRSA when working as a home health aide?

    Question Detail: I was employed as a home health aide in November of 2013. At that time I began taking care of a MRSA carrier and I was not aware of it. She recently had an outbreak and not one of her care physicians or the company I work for gave me any indication that I should take precautions and I am not aware of the sincerity of the infectious disease. I recently went to a doctor due to a red painful spot on my forehead that keeps growing. They gave me antibiotics but I checked it this morning and it's larger with a big sac and green puss being exposed above the skin. Anyways, my question is: Can I get workers compensation from this situation? The doctor visits and prescriptions are already draining my bank account.

    Answer: Yes, you can so long as a doctor is willing to express an opinion that it will keep you from working at some jobs, via restrictions. Your condition and workers' compensation benefits is all about how having this condition affects your ability to get jobs and how it restricts access to certain professions. 

  • I think my work comp case is closed, but can I still get medical care?

    Question: I injured my wrist at work. What do I do next if I got injured at work and still having complications but the doctor put me back on regular work duty?
    Answer: You only have two options in Iowa. 1. Complain and persuade the adjuster and/or the treating physician to look at it again or to allow you a second opinion. Or 2, go out and get a another opinion from a doctor that expresses a new or changed diagnosis, treatment and work restrictions. Without that you just go back to work.

    Have you hired an attorney to help you with the claim? If so does your lawyer not understand what he/she should do? Go get a new one. If you don't, go hire one. Why? Because your options require legal paperwork to be filed, it is an alt. care hearing petition. But first maybe you can get the medical opinion you need and perhaps if you have health insurance you can use it to pay for another opinion. 

  • Does an employer need to provide respirators when breathing chemicals?

    Question Detail: Can I file a negligence law suit against a previous employer for not providing respirators for the employees’ safety working with chemicals? In 2012, I was between jobs and took a job through a temp agency at a company. It was supposed to be a simple warehouse job and that I had no issues with. I wanted the physical labor. It was simple enough. Moving boxes and things of that nature; which I did for quite some time but then I was switched to a department where they filled bottles of nail polish. Oh my gosh, we filled a lot of bottles. It was very high volume. At first, there was no issue with it, but I began to realize this was a job that needed some form of respirator, which we were not provided. I pointed this out to several employees and they agreed with me that we needed respirators. We tried to get the respirators from the owner of the company, but he refused to provide us the equipment we needed to be safe. This continued for some time, the cycle of asking and being rejected, until I finally left the business. While I was there I had begun developing a cough. It worsened over time and has become chronic. I didn’t see a doctor back then but the cough continues. If I were to be diagnosed with a respiratory issue that could be traced back to chemicals damaging my breathing passages, could I sue the owner and the company for damages as well as emotional and physical distress caused by the lack of safety equipment? I should also point out, other workers developed the same cough or had it and we were using equipment that could produce sparks within an area that had dangerous fumes and chemical vats. Does this sound like a case with legs or should I focus completely on recovery?

    Answer: The quick answer is probably not in Iowa because the Iowa Workers’ Compensation Act is pretty much your only recourse. We have been researching methylene chloride and how it affects respiratory function in workers’ exposed while at work. As a temporary worker for a company such as Manpower Iowa has several cases dealing with your right to file a negligence claim and the decisions come down in favor of the employers, not the injured workers. Your right is to file a worker’s compensation claim, although there are some instances of gross negligence that may qualify for a separate lawsuit against the supervisor and co-employees. These are tough cases to prove but it may be successful, but methylene chloride exposure may be one. It can kill you. I have no clue what chemical you were breathing and it appears neither do you. You will obviously need to see a lawyer in order to discover which chemicals you were exposed to. Good luck with your claims and call us if we can help.

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  • Can I be fired for not being able to do the job I was hired for due to an injury?

    Question Detail: My shoulder was injured while I was performing a task my boss wanted me to do. My injury was my boss's fault. I was off work for 3 days with no pay. I am currently on light duty and going to the workmen's comp doctor and physical therapy. Yesterday, I was told by my boss that my hours have been cut back.

    Answer: Yes, under Iowa workers' compensation law you can be fired or "let go" when you are unable to perform the job. Depending on the type of injury it may increase the amount of benefits to which you are entitled. Workers compensation law in Iowa assumes some workers will be fired let go or demoted due to being injured. If so you may be entitled to a higher award of industrial disability.

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  • Do I have a case if I was electrocuted at work 18 months ago due to a faulty machine?

    Question Detail: No ambulance was called and first aider did not know what to do. I was eventually taken to hospital by a non first raider. I have since changed employment but doing same job.

    Answer: Before anyone can advise you about what choices, if any, are available we would need to know if you have a current need for medical treatment. Do you? What damages do you have and how did you get electrocuted? Who owned the machine? What was wrong with it that you were electrocuted? But most important why do you now believe you need to file the claim? What is going on medically that requires a claim be filed? You can’t file just to see if you can get some money from the insurance company. There has to be a legitimate injury and claim. 

  • If I am pending a benefit review with an insurance company for disability on an injury at work, do I need a lawyer?

    Well I guess it all depends on whether or not you think the right you have in receiving both sets of benefits is worth protecting. Most people need a lawyer to help with this rather complicated area of the law. Not all people get a lawyer. But hiring a lawyer, even with paying the lawyer a contingent fee will results normally in the injured worker receiving a higher settlement, than if they go it alone. Keep in mind your case is worth only so much and the value isn’t based upon a wish list of what you want or think you need. There are rules to follow.

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  • How can I get the amount that I think I deserved for a workers' compensation?

    Question Detail: I am about to be closing my workers' compensation case. My attorney is sending my disability rate that the AME said (18%) to the court. I was told it will be around $17,000 just for that plus future medical which isn't a lot because I've had the surgeries that actually made everything worse. I am trying to get around $50,000. I know it sounds like a lot but I can’t even hold things with ought dropping them from time to time. How can I get what I think I deserve?

    Answer: There is no way to value your case with the little bit of information you’ve provided. Saying your want around $50,000 isn’t persuasive or probative as the value of what your case is really worth. This isn’t about a wish list or getting enough to pay our bills or buy a house or a car. It’s about what facts exist and then applying those facts to the law and rules. So how would we do that? I would first have to know about your injury, the medical care, the location of surgery, the permanency rating, the opinions of any vocational expert, any FCE results and whether there are unpaid medical expenses. Without that information there is no way to answer your question.

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  • Can I sue my former employer after injuring my back?

    Question Detail: I hurt my back last year and was given workers compensation benefits. However, I felt pressured to come back to work. Can I sue? The company paid for doctor ordered x-rays and physical therapy but I am still hurting. I quit my job a few months ago because they started treating more poorly like I had done it on purpose.

    Answer: It is not unusual for injured workers to be treated different when they haven’t healed and returned to work too early. Other workers don’t want to carry your weight or work and they expect you to work as if you weren’t injured. This is a misunderstood part of returning to work too early. You can't really sue, but you can file a workers' compensation claim. The two actions are different. I’d suggest you hire a lawyer to help you with the filing, investigation, discovery and either trying or settling the case. We've been handling those claims for over 30 years; some lawyers specialize in these types of claims. That's what you need, a seasoned workers' compensation lawyer.

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