Question: What is longest allotted time on W.C.?
Question Detail: I have been on Workers Comp. since Aug. 9, 2001. I have an attorney, however he never really communicates with me, as a result of that, my deep concerns and issues are not being met.
Answer: Hmmmm.... not sure of why you're not in touch with the lawyer; you'd have to ask him/her. This is the third question in the past two weeks about lawyers not answering their phones. Hopefully you’re not my clients. [Cough-cough] Let me try and answer your questions.
You can receive WC for life if you are permanently totally disabled. But most injured workers are not awarded benefits for more than a few weeks and then get right back to work. It’s not clear if you ever received benefits and I’d say it’s unusual for your attorney to not talk to you if you’ve been a client since 2001. We have several clients who are permanently and totally disabled. Each has been a client for over 10 years and we still regularly speak to them. It seems like there are always questions that crop up. So what is likely to be going on?
On the other hand if you're not receiving any money it may be because the case was never filed and the statute of limitations has run. You need someone else to review the case.
How can you tell if the case was never filed? Well you can do a few things. Here is what I’d suggest.
Call the Iowa Work Force Development Office, the Workers' Compensation Division and ask if a Petition is on file. You'll need to give them your name, probably your date of birth and perhaps your social security number, so have them ready.
Division of Workers' Compensation
1000 East Grand Avenue
Des Moines, Iowa 50319-0209
Telephone: (515) 281-5387 or (800) JOB-IOWA
E-mail: [email protected]
And then do this,
- Call the lawyer and leave a message with this same question: Is there a case on file for me?
- Drop by the lawyer’s office to schedule an appointment and to make sure he’s still in business.
- If he practices with more than one associate, call another lawyer in the office.
- Call the firm’s office manager.
- Call the Iowa Bar Association and ask if the lawyer still has a license to practice law in Iowa.
- Send a registered letter asking for confirmation the lawyer remains in business and asking to schedule an appointment.
- If no response to any of these attempts, then fire the lawyer and hire another one.
- And if you can’t get out of town and find another attorney that knows what they are doing. The lawyer should be able to get the first lawyer to provide information or else contact the Bar to figure out what is going on with the first lawyer, because if money is missing that's not a going to end well for the lawyer. You shouldn't have to worry, we have the Client Security Fund that pays when Iowa lawyers steal from the clients.
While you do not want to be threatening you do want to be assertive to obtain the necessary information.