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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What are the differences between unemployment benefits, unemployment insurance compensation, and unemployment insurance benefits?
Unemployment benefits, unemployment insurance compensation, and unemployment insurance benefits are all the same. They refer to benefits administered by Iowa Workforce Development that an unemployed or partially employed person can receive while seeking a full-time job.
Can an injured person file against the homeowner, even if he claims he has no homeowner insurance?
Question Detail: My mom recently lost her job due to the fact that she broke her ankle in 2 places slipping down the second floor stairs. Apparently it was covered with hard ice, she was hospitalized and had to have surgery. I had to take a flight to help her with her kids since she's a single mother with 3 kids. I was wondering if she can sue the home owner even if he states he has no homeowners insurance, he also raised her rent since I'm here helping her with her PT and house stuff.
Answer: If the homeowner has a mortgage it is doubtful they are telling you the truth about not having insurance. All lenders require homeowner's insurance. Firmly request the name of their homeowner's insurance company and you will contact a lawyer to sue them.
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.
What do I do when I'm hassled by the HOA and it costs me money?
Question Detail: My neighbor complained to the HOA that my fence was in their yard. The Property Manager did a visual inspection and notified me that I need to move my fence as it was on my neighbor’s property. I paid a surveyor to check the property lines and he determined my fence was not over the property line. Can I seek reimbursement from the HOA or neighbor for the cost of the survey and/or harassment?
Answer: This is specific to a state, a county, a city and a homeowners association. No lawyer can give you a credible opinion without first knowing, who, what, when, where and how. I am at licensed real estate broker in Iowa as well as an attorney and would not even try to answer this question online. I would need to read caselaw, statutory law, city codes or ordinances and read the home owner's association rules and regulations. Pow! See a lawyer that practices in the same town, county or state as the HOA.
Do all plaintiffs have to settle at the same time?
Question: If I am involved in a personal injury case with my ex-girlfriend, do we BOTH have to settle the case together? Or can we settle separately?
Answer: There is no requirement that you settle together; there may be practical reasons to do so but no legal requirement.
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.
- Fatal Exposure to Methylene Chloride Among Bathtub Refinishers
- International Chemical Safety Card 0058
- NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards 0414
- National Pollutant Inventory - Dichloromethane Fact Sheet
- Dichloromethane at National Toxicology Program
- IARC Summaries & Evaluations Vol. 71 (1999)
- Canadian Environmental Protection Act Priority Substances List Assessment Report
- Organic Compounds Database
- Properties of Dichloromethane
How much is my injury worth in dollars?
Question Detail: Delivery ramp fell from underneath me while at a delivery site. As a result, I have permanent partial disability in left shoulder/arm. After investigating the accident scene for possible cause of ramp failure, it is my determination that ramp was not seated correctly, nor was locking mechanism installed. The ramp was not broken or repaired in any way; in fact it is the same ramp they continue to use to this day. Medical bills (roughly) $20,000.00, loss of job, left (dominant) shoulder/arm permanent damage, pain and personal suffering.
Answer: Based on the little information provided there is no way to determine value. Nor would I even try. All legitimate legal claims must be worked up meaning the facts underlying liability and damages must be fully understood before a value may be placed on any personal injury case.
If you were a plumber and I telephoned your office and asked how much will it cost for you to fix my toilet you would laugh at me. Why? Because I’ve provided no information about what is wrong with my toilet. All I’ve said is there is a problem.
Your legal question is no different to me, a legal plumber.
Can I sue if I fell in a parking lot of a gas station?
Question Detail: I was coming out of the gas station and held the door for another customer. When I turned around, I slipped and fell. I broke my arm and skinned my knee.
Answer: You can sue or you can just file a claim with the owner's business liability policy. But first what did you slip on? Was it something slick or your own clumsiness? For the property owner to be liable there must be a defect in the property. A defect may be ice or snow that has accumulated and not either been removed or salted.
Is it wise to talk to the insurance company who is calling me?
Question Detail: My right foot slipped on a laminated restaurant menu that was on the floor. I did not fall, but I hurt my right knee and back that I have suffered with pain for years. Obviously a report was filled out by the question I asked. I have taken no further action. Just curious as to why their insurance company is calling me.
Answer: Many lawyers, including myself, have written about recorded statements with insurance adjusters. See my own list of blog posts below. If you check our websites you can find blogs written about the do's and the don'ts. The basic problem with clients giving recorded statements before speaking with an attorney includes five main issues.
- A lack of adequate preparation.
- Being unfamiliar with the facts.
- Rushing to get it over with.
- Not understanding the importance of giving a recorded statement.
- Not understanding the law and how it affects recovery.
You have suffered an injury and it may be a lot more serious than you first believe. You should assume your condition will get worse. It may not but what if it does and the statement you gave implied this was no big deal. We have clients with similar types of accidents who end up needing knee and hip replacements. Some people also develop problems with the opposite knee or hip because they try and protect the injured one at the expense of the good one. And then others develop low back problems after experiencing a change of gait. A change of gait is how you walk.
The importance of being adequately prepared for the recorded statement can’t be stressed enough. What I would suggest is you see an attorney who practices personal injury before you give a recorded statement. Allow the attorney to review the facts, the law and to force you to get prepared to give an accurate statement of what happened and why. I will post a blog in January 2014 about this and expand on the issue. So look for that blog or write to me if you can't locate it on our site.
ARTICLES ABOUT THE INSURANCE RECORDED STATEMENT