Question: If I am not receiving workers comp, can I ask for my accumulated vacation and/or sick pay?

Question Detail: The insurance company refuses to give me workers comp and I have all my doctor statements saying I cannot work.

Answer: Your question is multifaceted and will take more than one simple answer. First, you are right that workers’ compensation insurance benefits require amedical opinion establishing certain things, like relatedness to a work injury along with the need to be off of work. So yes, you do need a doctor’s opinion saying you cannot work. If the doctor says the reason you can't work is due to a work injury then you should receive weekly benefits; but just saying you are unable to work isn’t enough. It’s a two part opinion. Aside from saying you are unable to work you’ll need the opinion to state the reasons have to do with a work related condition; usually an injury. Do you have an injury? If so how is it related to the work you do for your employer. And then lastly is it this work injury causing you to be unable to work.

The second part of your question is about a completely separate matter. So let’s talk about your vacation and/or sick pay. Are you in a union? If so what does your collective bargaining agreement say about cashing in earned benefits?

Then there is a matter of employment agreement or personnel policies. Do you have written work rules having to do with the receipt of these benefits? If so, then these become a part of the employment agreement and you should be able to enforce your employment rights. I can’t really answer your questions because you’ve not shared with me what those rules state about when sick pay and vacation pay can be taken by employees. A lawyer will need to read these rules before he’s able to answer your legal question. You can certainly ask for it, but whether or not you receive it will depend upon the language of any employment agreement with your employer.

In the end the easiest answer may be to find the right lawyer to assist you. Good luck and if we can help contact Katrina or me.

Steve Lombardi
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Iowa personal injury, workers' compensation, motorcycle, quadriplegic, paraplegic, brain injury, death
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