After a workplace accident or illness, you’re entitled to proper care and assistance with long-term disabilities, but you must follow proper procedures to ensure you get what you deserve.
That process usually begins with an impartial disability consultation.
Not all physicians are certified to perform this evaluation, but triple-board-certified Dr. Stanley Mathew at the American Rehabilitation Center is. Often, insurance carriers insist on a third-party disability consultation, meaning someone other than your primary care physician. If you live or work in Cedar Rapids, Dubuque, or Anamosa, Iowa, count on Dr. Mathew for a fair and honest disability consultation. Here’s what you need to know.
When you get injured on the job, including work-related illnesses, your top priority is getting the medical attention you need. If the workplace injury constitutes an emergency, call 911 and seek immediate help.
For non-emergency accidents, and once it’s reasonable following an emergency, contact your employer, report the incident, and follow your employer’s stated procedures. They may require you to visit a pre-approved physician. Whether you sustain a minor injury that resolves quickly or a more serious injury that won’t resolve, you’ll follow protocol, documenting your progress so the insurance company can cover your costs according to their policy.
However, there comes a point when your injury has healed as much as possible — a stage called maximum medical improvement. If you reach that stage and still can’t function as you did before your injury, you may need a disability consultation to determine the extent of your impairment and benefits.
That’s where Dr. Mathew comes in.
He performs a disability consultation to examine your injury and give it a disability rating. This rating isn’t subjective; it’s a standardized evaluation that assesses your physical and mental abilities compared to your pre-injury state. The rating Dr. Mathew gives your disability — stated as a percentage from 0%-100% — helps the Iowa Workers’ Compensation Department determine your benefits. The rating reflects loss of function and impact on your ability to earn wages.
Types of disability under Iowa Workers’ Compensation law
While losing the use of any body part is extremely personal, and Dr. Mathew treats you with compassion and respect, the disability rating procedure can sometimes feel business-like and clinical. However, the formal nature of the exam ensures you receive an impartial and fair assessment.
You can find the official details regarding Iowa’s approved disabilities on the Iowa workers’ comp website, but here are the highlights.
Individual body part disabilities
The Iowa Workers’ Compensation Department allows a predetermined amount of coverage based on the extent of your disability. The first category, the scheduled member disability, addresses the full loss of individual body parts and indicates the number of weeks you could receive disability benefits. For example:
- Thumb = 60 weeks
- Arm = 250 weeks
- Leg = 220 weeks
- Eye = 140 weeks
This is only a partial list; the official list includes every body part. Also, if you lose partial (not full) function of the specific body part, your coverage will be less based on the percentage of lost function. And if you lose function in more than one body part, your coverage could increase.
Some injuries affect body parts not listed on the scheduled member disability chart and may result in a whole-body or industrial disability rating. In this case, Dr. Mathew assesses your medical condition before and after the injury, length of recovery, age, earnings before and after your injury, and several other factors.
Whole-body disabilities are based on a standard 500-week basis, and the percentage rating is multiplied by 500 weeks.
If you’re looking for an experienced, fair, and trusted disability consultant, call the American Rehabilitation Center, or request an appointment online.