How long will you receive workers’ compensation benefits?

Question Detail: After being on workers comp for 3 years, am I entitled to more than the 500 weeks plus loss wages and mental and physical stress? Due to the accident while on the job in a company truck I was hurt. I’ve been on workers’ compensation for these three years and am wondering how long this will go on.

Answer: First, workers’ compensation benefits do not cover emotional distress damages. So forget about how you feel; pain is relevant only if it interfers with work function. That means pain must limit function or activities involved with doing your job. Wage loss is covered, but it’s not a dollar for dollar claim where you get paid “lost wages” per se. What you receive is a weekly indemnity benefit, a smaller pay check from the insurance plan. It’s wrong to refer to it as wage loss because it’s technically a weekly benefit check and is not taxable income. When you're trying to feed a family on less than you were making, that’s a pretty important distinction. Now let’s talk about how long you’ll get these checks.

You may be entitled to more or less than 500 weeks of benefits, but from the limited information you’ve provided I have no way of knowing the answer. I can't say how many weeks you’re entitled to receive and no attorney can say based on the limited information provided. I don't know the jurisdiction (State of Iowa?) where your claim was filed. I don’t know if you’re on healing period or permanently totally disabled.

  1. Do you have a claim for a scheduled or non-scheduled injury?
  2. What body part was injured?
  3. How many weeks have you been paid weekly indemnity benefits?
  4. What is the start and end of your healing period?
  5. Did you return to work and if so on which date?
  6. Did a doctor release you to return to work, and if so on which date?
  7. Did a doctor indicate you've reached maximum medical improvement?
  8. Were you released to return to work with restrictions? If so what were the restrictions?
  9. Were you issued a permanent impairment rating? What is it?
  10. Is any of this in writing?

There are many more questions and answers but these are the important ones. People read a little on the Internet and then run off to play lawyer acting as if it’s a DIY home repair project. It’s not and practicing law is complicated requiring years of study and practice. I’ve listed several questions that need to be answered and each answer could take us along another tangent with another 10 questions and answers. You need answers but the lawyers do as well. Find a lawyer, get good advice and then you’ll have the right answer to your question. 

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