The death of a loved one is one of the most difficult situations we face during our lifetimes.
Drunk driving charges are serious in their own right, but things go from bad to worse when someone is fatally injured in an accident.
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All reasonable and necessary medical care incurred to treat a qualifying injury is required to be paid for by the employer. If the employer is accepting liability and they are paying for the medical bills, they get to choose the medical provider.
Basically, the weekly rate is 80% of the injured worker’s after-tax average weekly wage. Weekly compensation benefits have a fixed minimum and maximum that are available and those numbers are adjusted from year to year. To determine the weekly rate payroll records must be used. The average of the thirteen representative weeks prior to the injury is used. “Non-representative” weeks are not used. “Non-representative” weeks are those where the injured worker was sick or took a vacation. Regularly paid bonuses and overtime may be able to be included in the rate calculation. However, it is important to note that full credit is not given for overtime; it is paid at the regular rate.The claimant’s marital status and number of dependents also affects the weekly rate. The applicable rate increases if the claimant is married; it also increases with the number of dependents.There are weekly rate tables available at the Workers’ Compensation Commissioner’s website to determine the applicable weekly rate. To determine rate, follow the table down until you reach the average gross weekly wage of the claimant, look at if they are single or married, then choose the rate that corresponds to their number of dependents.Types of disability benefits include:
An injured employee who is off work for more than three calendar days, temporary total disability benefits may be available beginning the fourth day. Benefits continue until the employee returns to work or is medically capable of returning to similar employment, whichever occurs first. If the disability period exceeds fourteen calendar days, the employee is entitled to be paid for the three-day waiting period.
If an injured employee returns to work at a lesser paying job due to the injury the employee may be entitled to temporary partial disability benefits. The value of the benefits is 2/3 the difference between the employee’s average gross weekly earnings at the time of the injury and the actual earnings while working at the lesser paying job. The three-day waiting period also applies to temporary partial disability benefits.
When an employee has an injury which results in permanent impairment, the employee may be entitled to healing period benefits during the period of recuperation. Healing period benefits begin on the first day the employee is off work until either: (1) the employee returns to work; (2) it is medically indicated that significant improvement from the injury is not anticipated; or (3) the employee is medically capable of returning to substantially similar employment to that engaged in at the time of injury.
If an injury results in permanent disability the employee may be entitled to permanent partial disability benefits based upon the degree of permanent disability. Permanent partial disability benefits are payable in addition to healing period benefits and commence at the termination of the healing period.Two types of permanent partial disability benefits exist:
Scheduled member disabilities: When an injury occurs to a scheduled member the value of the benefits is based upon the functional impairment to that body part. Each scheduled member is valued at a specific number of weeks as follows:
The number of weeks of benefits payable is for 100% loss, or loss of use. If the disability rating is less than 100%, the percentage of rating is multiplied by the number of weeks shown. As an example, a 10% loss of use to the first finger would be computed as 10% of 35 weeks, or 3.5 weeks of permanent partial disability benefits.
Unscheduled (Body as a Whole) Disabilities: An injury that results in permanent disability to a part of the employee which is not a scheduled member is an unscheduled disability. Unscheduled disabilities are also referred to as an industrial disability and are compensated according to the percent the disability reduces the employee’s earning capacity. Unscheduled disabilities typically include injuries to the back, neck, shoulder, and hip. Factors that are considered when determining industrial disability include:
When an employee is injured to the extent they are incapable of returning to gainful employment they may be entitled to permanent total disability benefits; which are payable for life at the same weekly rate as permanent partial disability benefits.
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Gourley, Rehkemper & Lindholm, PLC
440 Fairway Drive, Suite 210
West Des Moines, IA 50266
Des Moines, Iowa: 515-226-0500
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Mason City, Iowa 50401