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September 2012 Archives

IT AIN'T OVER UNTIL WE SAY IT'S OVER...

Remember that famous line from Animal House? This is true in workers' compensation cases as well. The biggest scam in the insurance industry is that workers do not understand their rights regarding workers' compensation. And, it's not hard to understand why. This is a complicated system with a bunch of rules and procedural steps. A single worker can get lost quickly in this forest. Today we write about a tactic that often is used when a worker has a traumatic injury, but recovers well. Assume a worker has broken their leg in several places. The injury is terrible, and the recovery is long and difficult. But with proper medical care the injury results in a strong recovery after two - six months. At the end of that healing time the worker finally gets back to work and everyone applauds, and it seems like the work comp is over. But is it? For sure... if the worker stops right there in their knowledge, they can lose tens of thousands of dollars by simply not educating themselves further or making a free phone call. What the work comp industry does not want anyone to know is that even after your return to work, many injuries will result in additional payments. Yes, that's right. But let me say it again, usually there will be additional payments for a serious injury. It makes no difference that you got back to work. It makes no difference that you are feeling better. In many cases it makes no difference that you had a strong recovery. Work comp pays compensation for the effect that an injury has on the body. This is called loss of function and this factor alone can be very valuable. So, here's what you need to know... the phone call is free. ake, Channing Dutton & Jim Lawyer.

RETALIATION BY AN EMPLOYER

It absolutely amazes us that some employers act like little children when one of their workers get hurt. They pout and complain that life is unfair, even though it was the individual worker who sustained the injury and all of the losses associated with the injury. Some employers go so far as to commence disciplinary action against the worker for nothing more than getting hurt. This is a knee-jerk reaction to the injury, and generally doesn't reflect any real safety failure by the worker. The boss is just irked, and takes it out on the worker in many forms. Recently, a caller was complaining about a boss wanting him to conduct a "humiliation to work" where the worker was to describe what they did to cause the injury. Of course, all the worker had done was try to work quickly to further the interests of the business and got hurt through no fault of his own. Hardly the stuff of a punishment session. What can the worker do about this treatment? The answer lies in the relationship between the employer and the employee. If it is a good one, the worker should complain about the treatment to the boss. But face it; most employers who retaliate have a terrible attitude about their workers, and what the workers have done for them. These bosses tend to think that they succeed only because of their own efforts, and not the collective efforts of those that work for them. Unfortunately, there is no particular Iowa law that protects a worker from a hostile boss unless the boss crosses certain well-established lines such as gender, race, religion, or disability. If all the boss does is make life difficult (like the "humiliation to work" as described above) it is probably best for the worker to start looking for another job, or otherwise accept the unfair punishment. However, these situations are delicate and tricky to figure out. It would be best to give us a call to discuss any hostile action by your employer. Retaliating because a work injury has been filed can be a separate lawsuit in Iowa. This has to be evaluated on an individual basis.

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Lawyer, Lawyer, Dutton & Drake, L.L.P.

Lawyer, Lawyer, Dutton & Drake, L.L.P.
1415 Grand Ave.
West Des Moines, IA 50265

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Phone: 515-224-4400
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