Des Moines Workers' Compensation Attorneys | MSM&C (2023)

Des Moines Workers' Compensation Attorneys | MSM&C (1)

If you are injured at the workplace in Iowa, you are eligible for workers’ compensation. Under Iowa law, nearly all workers can file for workers’ compensation benefits. Additionally, there are even circumstances that if you were injured outside of the state on work business, you will still be eligible for Iowa Workers’ Compensation coverage.

While there are a few classifications of workers who will not be able to receive workers’ compensation, it is likely that if you are employed, and you were injured while on the job, you will be able to successfully file an Iowa workers’ compensation claim. The Iowa workers’ compensation lawyers at can successfully fight for your rights while allowing you to focus on your recovery. Contact our law firm today to speak with a workers’ compensation attorney.

Federal and State Workers’ Compensation Laws

Workers’ compensation is governed by both federal and state law. The U.S Department of Labor is the government agency that offers an Office of Workers’ Compensation Program. Through this problem, compensation is provided in four ways:

  • Medical treatment
  • Other benefits
  • Vocational rehabilitation
  • Permanent Injury benefits
  • Wage replacement benefits

Additionally, there are other federal programs through the DOL that provide coverage, including:

The Workers’ Compensation Act provides benefits to Iowa workers who have been injured while on the job. This part of the Iowa Code provides coverage to individuals based on what their injury is, how it was sustained, and where it was sustained. Code provisions provide different coverage based on:

(Video) Des Moines Workers Compensation Attorney Ames Work Injury Lawyer Iowa

  • Bodily Injuries— Chapter 85
  • Occupational Disease— Chapter 85A
  • Occupational Hearing Loss— Chapter 85B

Workers are eligible for benefits under the Iowa Workers’ Compensation Act regardless of who is at fault. Workers’ compensation benefits are generally the only remedy available to employees against an employer.

Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim for Injured Workers in Iowa

You should inform your employer as quickly as possible about your injury and, if required, get medical treatment. You must notify your employer within ninety (90) days of the workplace accident to ensure that you will be entitled to benefits if you file a workers’ compensation claim.

After alerting your employer, your employer is expected to prepare a written report of injury, as well as a medical verification of injury, to be provided to the insurance company. Within four (4) days of receiving notice of an alleged injury, your employer is required to complete and file the first report of injury form with the workers’ compensation agency.

Workers’ compensation payments are available to most employees who are injured while working in Iowa, whether on a contract or because their primary job is located in the state.

If you, your employer, or your employer’s insurance provider have a disagreement, any of the parties can file a contested case with a workers’ compensation office. Other solutions may be available and should be investigated before filing a contested case. You should consult your local office of workers’ compensation for further details.

It is your responsibility to contact the workers’ compensation commissioner if you do not receive payments on a regular basis or are dissatisfied with the payment of benefits. You may lose your entitlement to benefits if you have not received benefits or submitted an application to resolve the dispute. All other claims must be submitted with the workers’ compensation commissioner within two (2) years of the date of the workplace accident or injury.

(Video) Workers' Compensation Attorneys in West Des Moines- Over 138 years' experience

What Can You Recover in a Workers’ Compensation Claim?

Under the Iowa Workers’ Compensation laws, employees can generally receive two types of benefits:

  • Medical Benefits: This includes benefits paid for all reasonably necessary medical expenses in connection with the treatment of your injury. This can even include the cost of necessary transportation.
  • Disability Benefits: These benefits are to replace lost wages for not being able to work due to a temporary or permanent disability. This type of payment cannot exceed 80% of your weekly spendable earnings. Spendable earnings are defined as the amount left over after payroll taxes are deducted from gross weekly earnings. The amount of wage replacement benefit you are eligible for is mostly determined by the severity of your ailment and the amount of money you earned in the previous year.

Temporary Total Disability: If you miss more than three days of work due to an injury, you may be eligible for wage replacement benefits beginning on the fourth day. Unless your disability lasts longer than fourteen days, you will not be paid back for the first three days missed.

Temporary Partial Disability: If your injury leaves you impaired or disabled to the point where you can only work a lower-paying job when you return to work, you may be eligible for benefits under this category. These benefits will cover around two-thirds (67%) of the wage gap between your previous and present positions.

Permanent Total Disability: If you are unable to return to work, you will receive full workers’ comp benefits.

Permanent Partial Disability: When an injury results in a permanent disability, benefits are awarded. The amount of benefits will be determined by the severity of the permanent disability, the body part injured and the potentially any resulting physical restrictions.

Injured Workers Exempt from Workers’ Compensation Benefits

Under Iowa Workers’ Compensation Provision 85.1, there are certain individuals who do not meet the requirement for workers’ compensation eligibility. There are ten (10) categories of workers classified under this provision:

(Video) LaMarca Law Group | Des Moines Workers’ Compensation Lawyers

  1. Domestic and casual workers who earned less than $1,500 from their employer in the 12 months preceding the workplace accident that caused their injuries.
  2. Employees in the agricultural industry who had a cash payroll of less than $2,500 in the calendar year prior to the injury.
  3. Employer’s spouse, parents, brothers, sisters, children, and stepchildren of either the employer or the employer’s spouse, as well as the spouses of the brothers, sisters, children, and stepchildren of either the employer or the employer’s spouse.
  4. Exchange labor in employment in the agricultural industry.
  5. The president, vice president, secretary, and treasurer of a family farm corporation as well as their wives and the executives’ parents, siblings, sisters, children, stepchildren, and spouses.
  6. Police officers and firefighters who are eligible for payments under the Iowa Code chapters 410 and 411 pension fund.
  7. A proprietor or partner who devotes a considerable portion of his or her time to the proprietor’s or partner’s business.
  8. A corporation’s president, vice president, secretary, treasurer, and up to four executives per corporation (other than a family farm corporation) may elect not to be covered by the workers’ compensation statute. A “rejection of workers’ compensation or employer’s liability coverage” (available from the Workers’ Compensation Commissioner’s office) must be completed in order for the rejection of coverage to be legitimate.
  9. Employees who are entitled to benefits under any liability or compensation rule imposed by the United States Congress for employees.
  10. Members of a limited liability company.

Additionally, in most circumstances, independent contractors will not be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. Though, some independent contractors can elect to make a formal petition to be covered under the Iowa Workers’ Compensation Act, this does not guarantee they will be eligible to receive benefits. But this process is their only opportunity to be covered by workers’ compensation benefits. Unlike employees, independent contractors can bring a lawsuit against their employer if they are injured while performing anything within their scope of work.

Workers’ Compensation Benefits Overview

Iowa Code Chapter 85.27 mandates that any reasonable and necessary medical expenses incurred to treat the work-related injuries be reimbursed. This also covers the cost of transportation. Mileage for the use of a personal vehicle is paid at a rate determined by Iowa. At present this amount is 56 cents per mile.

Additionally, an employee who is forced to leave work for medical treatment may be eligible for compensation for missed income in certain circumstances, especially if it is longer than any paid break.

The employer must offer medical care that adequately treats the employee’s injury, and the employer has the right to select the medical care. If an employee is dissatisfied with the care provided, he or she should speak with their employer or employer’s insurance company about it. In some circumstances, an employee may want to request alternative care. If the employer or insurance carrier refuses to authorize substitute care, the employee may apply to the Workers’ Compensation Commissioner for alternate medical care (through an appropriate appeal proceedings).

If an employee has a permanent partial impairment in one hand, arm, foot, leg, or eye and then suffers a permanent partial disability as a result of a work-related accident to another one of these body parts, the employee may be eligible for compensation from the “Second Injury Fund.” The payments are limited to the amount of the permanent disability that is greater than the combined value of the two affected body parts. The benefits are not paid until the employer or insurance provider has finished paying the second permanent partial disability benefit.

Workers’ Compensation Statistics in Iowa

The U.S. Department of Labor Statics reports on all workplace injuries and illnesses throughout the United States. The most recent survey and report released by the DOL found that:

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  • There were 34,000 nonfatal injuries and illnesses reported within private industries. This is an incident rate of 3.3/100 for full-time workers. The national average is only 2.7 Iowa is one of 20 states that surpasses the U.S. average.
  • Out of the two sectors (public and private), the private sector was responsible for 56% of the total occupational injuries and illnesses reported. Moreover, private industry workers only make up 34% of the employment in the state of Iowa.
  • There were 6,000 injury and illness cases reported by Iowa state and local government sectors. This is a 4/100 incident rate, which is consistent with the nation’s average of 3.9.
  • 73% of injuries and illnesses reported by the public sector were contributed to government workers.

In the latest reporting year by the DOL, there were 76 fatal injuries across all industries in the state of Iowa. If you have lost a loved one while they were on the job, and you are a dependent, you are eligible to receive workers’ compensation death benefits. Though, the deceased individual must have been fatally wounded during “work-related” or “occupational” activities.

Generally, an employee cannot file a personal injury claim or wrongful death claim against their employer if they are injured on the job. However, one can file a third-party wrongful death claim on behalf of their loved one against manufacturers, building owners, vendors, or any third party that is not a direct employer of that person.

Who Pays Workers’ compensation Benefits in Iowa?

The Workers’ Compensation Commissioner’s office is responsible for enforcing the workers’ compensation law, but it does not award benefits.

If the employer obtained an insurance policy, the employer is responsible for paying the premiums, while the insurance company (or adjusting firm) is responsible for paying the injured employee’s workers’ compensation benefits.

If the employer is self-insured, the employer (or adjusting business) pays the injured employee’s workers’ compensation benefits.

Any company that fails to offer insurance coverage for eligible employees as required by law may be liable to an employee for additional workers’ compensation benefits or civil damages under Iowa Code Section 87.21.

(Video) How to Find a Qualified Workers Compensation Attorney in Des Moines?

Contact the Iowa Workers’ Compensation Attorneys at Mueller, Schmidt, Mulholland & Cooling, PLLC

Workers’ compensation benefits may be available if you are injured on the job or acquire a work-related illness. Most companies are required by law to carry workers’ compensation insurance in Iowa, but as you can see, getting benefits is not always simple.

If you or a loved one has suffered a work-related injury, you may eligible for certain workers’ compensation benefits through your employer. For legal advice on what to do after a workplace injury, contact the Des Moines workers’ compensation attorneys at the law offices of Mueller, Schmidt, Mulholland & Cooling, PLLC. We can help file your Iowa workers’ compensation claim in a timely fashion and get you the fair compensation and benefits you are owed.

Contact our law offices in Des Moines, IA, today to schedule a free consultation to get started on your claim with one of our experienced Iowa workers’ compensation lawyers. Our contact information can be found online, or you can call us at (515) 444-4000


What 4 types of issues are not covered by workers compensation? ›

What injuries are NOT covered by workers' comp?
  • An incident that arose out of an act of God.
  • Common, one-time illnesses such as influenza or headaches.
  • Condition(s) that existed before an employee was hired or began performing a particular job.
  • Contracting ordinary disease of life.

When should you consult a workers comp lawyer? ›

If your injury requires surgery or affects your ability to work for a significant length of time, you should immediately hire a workers' comp attorney who can help you get compensation for medical expenses and lost wages.

How do I counter offer a workers comp settlement? ›

Have your workers' compensation lawyer send a demand letter to the insurance company with the amount that you seek for settlement, including access to relevant documentation if necessary. Receive a counteroffer. The insurance company may make a counteroffer or accept the settlement amount.

What is the statute of limitations in Iowa for workers compensation? ›

THREE-YEAR STATUTE OF LIMITATION (85.26) If you have received Iowa weekly workers' compensation benefits, you have three years from the last payment of those weekly benefits to receive additional benefits voluntarily, or to file a contested case proceeding for benefits.

What are the disadvantages of workers compensation? ›

If you receive a lump sum, that money will run out eventually even if you have future expenses related to the injury. The insurance company has no obligation to pay those future expenses. For people with permanent disabilities or impairments due to workplace injuries, a settlement may simply not be enough.

What is the most common injury claim on workmans comp? ›

Injuries that Commonly Result in Workers' Comp Claims
  • Sprains and strains (30 percent)
  • Lacerations or puncture wounds (19 percent)
  • Bruising or contusions (12 percent)
  • Inflammatory injuries- e.g., tendonitis and plantar fasciitis (5 percent)
  • Broken bones (5 percent of all claims annually)
Sep 10, 2021

How long do most workers comp settlements take? ›

How Long Does It Take to Reach a Settlement for Workers' Comp? The entire settlement process—from filing your claim to having the money in your hands—can take around 12-18 months depending on the details of your case and whether or not you have legal representation.

Why you should hire a workers compensation lawyer? ›

A workers' comp lawyer can ensure you receive all the benefits you are entitled to receive, and that those benefits continue for as long as possible. Generally, an injured worker who hires an experienced workers' compensation lawyer receives more money for their claim than workers who do not hire a lawyer.

What percentage does a workers comp attorney get in California? ›

California has one of the lowest percentages for attorney fees in the nation. The Labor Code provides for attorney fees between 9% and 12%. In practice, the Workers' Compensation Appeals Board has approved 15% attorney fees for many years.

Should I accept the first offer of compensation? ›

you don't have to accept any offer that's made to you. If you do accept an offer it might be lower than the compensation you would have got if you'd used a solicitor or gone to court instead. don't feel under any pressure to make a decision quickly.

How do you negotiate a good settlement? ›

The following guidelines can help you settle out of court and reach creative, mutually beneficial resolutions to your disputes, with or without lawyers at the table.
  1. Make sure the process is perceived to be fair. ...
  2. Identify interests and tradeoffs. ...
  3. Insist on decision analysis. ...
  4. Reduce discovery costs.
Jul 28, 2022

How do you negotiate a fair settlement? ›

Let's look at how to best position your claim for success.
  1. Have a Settlement Amount in Mind. ...
  2. Do Not Jump at a First Offer. ...
  3. Get the Adjuster to Justify a Low Offer. ...
  4. Emphasize Emotional Points. ...
  5. Put the Settlement in Writing. ...
  6. More Information About Negotiating Your Personal Injury Claim.

Can I sue my employer for emotional distress in Iowa? ›

The court noted that Iowa law doesn't generally allow emotional distress damages unless there's physical injury or proof of intentional conduct; but there are exceptions when emotional distress was “foreseeable” and a “particularly likely result.” Here, the Klever and Nancy were permitted to seek emotional distress ...

Can I quit my job while on workers comp in Iowa? ›

Your Workers' Comp Medical Benefits are “Portable”

Regardless of where you choose to work after your injury, your employment status has no impact on your medical needs. Just because you leave your job, you should still be able to receive these crucial workers' compensation medical benefits.

Can you sue your employer in Iowa? ›

In Iowa, you cannot sue your employer for a work injury in civil court. You can only bring a workers' compensation claim. This is known as “the exclusive remedy.”

What are the limits of compensation? ›

Type of Limitation2023 12019 5
Annual Compensation Limit$330,000$280,000
Annual Compensation Limit for Grandfathered Participants in Governmental Plans Which Followed 401(a)(17) Limits (With Indexing) on July 1, 1993$490,000$415,000
Highly Compensated Employee (“HCEs”)$150,000$125,000
Key Employee/Officer$215,000$180,000
22 more rows

What is the main factor affecting the compensation? ›

Demand and Supply of Labour– It is one of the most important factors that affect the compensation of employees. If the demand is more than the supply, the compensation will be higher. Industry Standards– No employee would like to join a company whose compensation is below the industry standards.

Does a compensation payout affect benefits? ›

Compensation is treated as savings for any means-tested benefits you claim. You need to tell the office that pays your benefit as soon as you get your compensation payout.

How long does it take to get compensation from injury at work? ›

Accident at work claim can take 6 to 9 months to reach a final settlement. Slip, trip and fall claims can take anything from 6 to 9 months to reach a settlement. Industrial disease claims can take anything from 12 to 18 months to reach a final settlement.

What is the simplest type of workers compensation claim? ›

A Fordney workers comp 14
Workers' compensation benefits include pg427a)medical care b) disability income c) death benefits
The simplest type of workers' compensation claim is pg427nondisability
39 more rows

What is the most common personal injury claim? ›

Car accident claims are by far the most common personal injury claim in the U.S. Millions of Americans are injured in car accidents every year. Unfortunately, many of these accidents are the result of the negligence of another driver.

How long does it take to negotiate a settlement? ›

Overall, the settlement negotiation process typically takes a few weeks to a few months. If all goes well, you and the other party will agree to a fair settlement for your damages.

How long does compensation take to pay out? ›

A claim can often take between 12 and 18 months to resolve – or longer if it is a complex case or if liability is disputed.

How long does the average compensation claim take? ›

As a very rough guide, a claim may take 6 to 12 months if liability is accepted by the treatment or care provider immediately. If liability is disputed, it could take 12 to 18 months for more complicated claims.

What are some reasons why a person might hire an attorney? ›

Top ten reasons to hire a lawyer
  • The Law is Complicated. ...
  • Not Having a Lawyer May Cost You More. ...
  • Lawyers Know How to Challenge Evidence. ...
  • Filing the Wrong Document or Following the Wrong Procedure Could Ruin Your Case. ...
  • They Have Access to the Witnesses and Experts You'll Need on Your Side.
Oct 5, 2021

Why would we need to hire a personal injury lawyer to settle a personal injury case? ›

A personal injury attorney will file personal injury claims on your behalf. They will also help bring knowledge, skill, and experience into your case; and this will help you get the settlement you deserve.

What is the key role of workers compensation? ›

A key objective of workers' compensation programs is to provide adequate compensation for lost earnings to people who experience work-related injury or illness.

What is 5710 fee? ›

' 5710 fees (Section 5710 of the California Labor Code). This type of fee is to be paid by the insurance company directly to the injured worker's attorney of record (it does not reduce nor does it come out of the injured workers pocket) where the insurance company's attorney takes the applicant's deposition.

What is Labor Code 5801? ›

Section 5801 provides, in pertinent part, as follows: "In the event the injured employee or the dependent of a deceased employee prevails in any petition by the employer for a writ of review from an award of the appeals board and the reviewing court finds that there is no reasonable basis for the petition, it shall ...

Do all workers comp cases end in a settlement in California? ›

In California, all workers' compensation cases end in a settlement of some kind. Most cases end in a voluntary settlement between the injured employee and the employer's insurance company. These situations are the most straightforward and usually proceed quickly. However, some cases will get settled in court instead.

What to do if insurance settlement is too low? ›

Always reject a settlement offer in writing. Type a letter to your contact at the insurance company listing the reasons you think that their offer is too low. Back up these reasons with concrete evidence attached to the letter. Finally, provide a counteroffer of a sum you think is more reasonable.

How long after medical report will I get an offer? ›

However, the reasonable band of timescales for provision of a report after a medical examination probably ranges from about 6 to 10 weeks. You would expect that, once the insurers receive any medical report, they should be in a position to make a settlement offer to you within four weeks or so.

When should you negotiate compensation? ›

The hiring process is the perfect time to negotiate your salary, but it's best practice to avoid salary discussions during an interview. Wait until you get an official job offer to start negotiating. This gives you leverage because you are sure they want to hire you.

How do I make my settlement bigger? ›

Get Medical Treatment (and Surgery)

The more medical treatment that you get, the higher the full value of your case for settlement purposes. Insurance companies (and juries) believe that if someone gets a lot of medical treatment, they have a serious injury.

What not to say to an insurance adjuster? ›

The top 5 things to not say to an insurance adjuster are
  • admitting fault,
  • saying that you are not hurt,
  • describing your injuries,
  • speculating about what happened, or.
  • saying anything on the record.
Jul 22, 2022

What is a reasonable settlement agreement? ›

A settlement agreement is a contract between two parties, usually (but not always) an employer and an employee, which settles the employee's claims against their employer. The employee typically signs away their right to bring a claim in return for a payment.

How do insurance adjusters decide on a settlement? ›

Insurance companies determine settlement amounts by looking at three factors: liability, damages and the terms of the insurance policy. In order for an insurance company to offer a settlement, liability must be clear.

What are the three criteria for fair negotiations? ›

The criteria for fair negotiations include producing a wise agreement, being efficient, and improving or not damaging the relationship. If you argue over positions you have not taken the time to explore other alternatives for, the decision you come up with may not be the best available solution.

What is a good settlement figure? ›

The rough 'rule of thumb' that is generally used to determine the value of a settlement agreement (in respect of compensation for termination of employment) is two to three months' gross salary.

Which of the following would not be covered under workman's comp? ›

Illegal activities: Employee injuries due to illegal activities at the worksite are not covered by an organization's workers' compensation insurance policy. Policy violations: Workers' comp does not cover employees who are injured while violating company policies, procedures and protocols.

What are the four 4 major elements of compensation? ›

This refers to the mix of the four basic components of compensation—base pay, wage add-ons, incentives, and benefits—that we employ. We must divide available funds among the components.

What is not included in compensation? ›

It is paid by the employers in a given accounting period. Employees' contribution to social security schemes are not included in compensation of employees, whereas, wages and salaries in cash and windfall gains are included in compensation of employees.

Which of the following injuries would not be covered under workers compensation insurance? ›

If you're hurt while driving, walking, biking, or using public transportation to get to work, the workers' compensation system doesn't apply to your injuries. However, if your work duties include traveling, injuries that occur during travel for your employer is covered.


1. LaMarca & Landry, P.C. Personal Injury Attorneys in Des Moines (877) 327-2600
(LaMarca Law Group, P.C.)
2. Des Moines Workers’ Compensation Lawyers | LaMarca Law Group
(Your Iowa Lawyers)
3. Des Moines Iowa Work Comp Attorney Workers Compensation Lawyer
(Barb Diment)
4. Des Moines Personal Injury and Workers' Compensation Lawyer Review
(Beattie Law Firm)
5. If I Hire a Des Moines Personal Injury Attorney for Iowa Workers' Compensation, How Are They Paid?
(Walker, Billingsley & Bair)
6. Iowa Workers Compensation Laws Explained | Learn About Law
(Learn About Law)


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