3 Common Questions and Answers in Iowa Workers' Compensation Cases
People hurt in Iowa at work often have questions like:
Do I get to see the doctors I want to?
Should the insurance company pay me for my mileage?
Are they paying the right amount each week?
. . . and much more
First of all, the general rule under Iowa law is if you report a work injury and want your employer or their insurance company to pay for your treatment then they will get to choose your doctors. There are some exceptions to this rule, but there are legal procedures to follow if you want to try to change your medical care.
With regards to mileage, yes they should be paying you for your mileage going to and from your medical appointments and the pharmacy. Currently, the mileage rate is $.555 per mile, but this amount changes each and every July 1 based upon the IRS mileage rate.
When it comes to your weekly check, the correct amount (what is called your weekly rate) is a more difficult question to answer because it depends upon a number of factors such as if you are paid hourly or based upon a salary, if you are married or single, how many dependents you claim, etc. It is a myth that your rate is 2/3 of your salary or 80% of your salary. If you are paid hourly then generally they are supposed to look at the 13 week period prior to your work injury, skips weeks which do not represent your regular wages, and multiply the number of hours you worked times your regular hourly rate. While you do get to include pay for shift differential, you do not get to include your 1.5 pay for overtime. For example, if you worked an average of 45 hours per week in the 13 weeks before your injury and make $20 per hour, then your average weekly wage (AWW) is $900 per week. Depending upon if you are married or single and the number of dependents that you claim will determine your weekly rate. The rate tables to look-up your rate depending upon when you were injured can be found at http://www.iowaworkforce.org/wc/publications.htm. For this example, if the injured worker was hurt after July 1, of 2012 and is married with 2 children then the rate would be $606.51 based upon AWW- $900, M-4.
To learn more about your rights and responsibilities under Iowa's work injury laws including how you can receive a book which reveals the Iowa Injured Workers' Bills of Rights at no cost or risk click on the link.