Workplace accidents can happen to anyone in any type of job. From a minor cut or bruise to the loss of limb or life, the range of possible illnesses and injuries spans a broad spectrum of conditions. The United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 2.8 million non-fatal job-related illnesses and injuries in 2019 alone.
Although the lion’s share of those incidents occurred in the manufacturing, construction, and machining industries, no sector goes unscathed, and even office workers get hurt from slips and falls, airborne objects, repetitive use injuries, and even exposure to harmful substances.
When something happens to you at work, the state of Iowa requires your employer to offer workers’ compensation, which covers your medical expenses. The state also provides disability benefits to support you financially if the injury or illness is so severe that it limits you or prevents you from working permanently.
The state determines the validity and degree of your disability by means of a disability consultation. Not all doctors are qualified to perform disability consultations, but if you live in the Cedar Rapids or Dubuque areas of Iowa, you have access to one of the best independent disability consultants in the state.
Dr. Stanley Mathew, our triple-board certified physiatrist at American Rehabilitation Medicine, can help you rehabilitate from your workplace injury or illness and/or perform an expert disability consultation to satisfy the requirements of your disability benefits.
What to do if you are injured on the job
Work injuries don’t only cause pain, they raise questions: What are my rights? Can I see my own doctor? What happens if I can’t work anymore?
The first thing you need to do is get immediate medical attention and ensure you’re out of danger. Next, you need to report the incident to your supervisor. Your employer should be able to inform you about the proper procedure for filing a workers’ compensation claim, but if you need help, Dr. Mathew can guide you through the process, including how to file a first report of injury (FROI).
It doesn’t matter who was to blame for your injury — unless, of course, you were under the influence of alcohol or an illegal substance. It’s important to seek medical care for your illness or injury right away. If you don’t have a personal physician, Dr. Mathew welcomes new patients and can treat your injuries.
Even if you already have a trusted physician, your employer may require you to seek an independent medical examiner, in which case, Dr. Mathew is qualified to fill that role.
When and why you should schedule a disability consultation
For weeks, months, maybe even years after your accident, you’ve been working with doctors and therapists trying to rehabilitate your injury and regain function. But at some point, the treatments have done all they can do, and the experts let you know that you’ve maxed out your potential to improve.
At that point, if you’re still unable to work at the same level as you did prior to your accident, or you can’t work at all, you may be eligible for partial or full disability benefits to support you.
In order for the state of Iowa to determine what’s fair and reasonable, there are strict guidelines in place to govern the process. The primary standard of measure is the report from an impartial disability consultation. Here’s how it benefits you.
Keeps you in compliance with Iowa state law
Under Iowa Workers’ Compensation Law, the state considers the facts of your case. The amount and duration of your benefits depend on multiple factors, including whether your disability is permanent or temporary and whether it includes part or all of your body. This information is provided in the assessment report of an independent physician such as Dr. Mathew.
Ensures you receive all disability benefits to which you are entitled
While Dr. Mathew can’t promise that your injury will qualify for disability payments, he can guarantee that his professional assessment will be fair and accurate. If he determines that you are partially or completely disabled, the Iowa Division of Workers’ Compensation considers his report valid and actionable.
During your exam with Dr. Mathew, he assesses your:
- Condition prior to the accident
- Length of recovery time
- Capability of performing work
- Functional impairment
- Age and any health conditions you may have
Dr. Mathew then rates your injuries and abilities based on the state’s guidelines. This is not a subjective opinion, but rather a detailed and prescribed rating system that ensures fairness and transparency for all involved parties.
If you’ve recovered all you can from your workplace accident and need to schedule a disability consultation, call us today at either our Dubuque or Cedar Rapids office, or book using our online form.