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What Are My Rights If I Get Hurt at Work?

Employers in Iowa must provide a healthy and safe work environment for their employees. Sometimes they fail to do so, and workers suffer injuries as a result. However, there are times where employees get injured even when employers did everything possible to make the workplace safe.

These damages can include broken bones, occupational illnesses, aggravation of pre-existing health conditions, and even psychiatric injuries. Fortunately, the workers’ compensation in Des Moines, IA, provides employees with fundamental legal rights to protect and help them. In this article, we examine the rights injured people from work accidents have and how Des Moines workers comp attorneys can help.

Protecting Your Rights

How Can I Protect My Rights If I Suffer a Workplace Injury?

The most straightforward and essential way an employee can protect their legal rights is by reporting their injury to the employer the moment it occurs. In Iowa, workers have up to 90 days to inform them of their injury. 

Afterward, the employer has to complete a written report of the injury that they must provide to the insurance company alongside medical evidence proving it. Then, the employer has to complete the first report of injury and file it with Iowa’s workers’ compensation commissioner. This process must be done within four days of the notice of the alleged injury. 

Employers and insurers carry out most of the claim process. Nearly every injured worker is eligible for workers’ compensation in Des Moines, IA, as long as they work within the state. 

What Are My Rights?

The laws governing Iowa’s workers’ compensation system define fundamental rights for every injured worker. These legal rights are common across most states.  Here are some that every claimant should know:


  • Employees have the right to file a workers’ compensation claim for their injury or ailment. Nearly everyone who endures damages is eligible and has the right to seek the best benefits.


  • Victims have the right to meet a doctor and receive medical care. The employer can’t force the employee to keep working if they are injured, but they can suggest a place to go for treatment.


  • Should a physician allow the worker to go back to work, they have the right to do so. 


  • If the victim can’t return to work due to a long-term or permanent injury or illness, they have the right to receive compensation for that disability. 


  • Workers have the right to be free from retaliation and discrimination from suffering an injury. The employer can’t take an adverse employment action or treat them distinctly due to the injury.


  • Employees that disagree with the decision of their employer, insurance company, or workers’ compensation commissioner have the right to appeal it and hire a lawyer to assist throughout the procedure.


It’s also essential for employees to understand that they have the right to refuse particular offers and requests. For instance, if a victim suffers a workplace injury and their employer encourages them to use their health insurance to cover the treatment, they have the right to decline the request.


People that suffer work-related injuries can pursue the benefits of workers’ compensation in Des Moines, IA, without fear of any retaliation. It’s illegal for employers to try and persuade employees to drop their workers’ compensation claims. 


Should they make the process overly problematic or fail to comply with a necessary step, they can suffer harsh penalties from Iowa’s workers’ compensation. It’s also illegal for an employer to harass its employees during work if the cause and motivation are that they filed a claim.

Injured From A Third Party

What Are My Rights Against Third Parties?

Occasionally, workers sustain injuries due to the negligence of a third party. This other entity can be the manufacturer or designer of faulty equipment or the driver of a delivery vehicle. If a worker suffers a workplace injury because of the negligence of a third party, they have the right to file a claim against that company or person. 

However, these claims aren’t filed as workers’ compensation in Des Moines, IA. They are third-party claims and take the form of civil lawsuits in the state court. These lawsuits for work-related injuries allow the victim to seek further injury damages that aren’t ordinarily recoverable in a workers’ comp claim.

For example, a workers’ comp claim usually reimburses lost wages and medical expenses. Third-party claims allow the employee to seek compensation for pain and suffering, which is non-economic damage.

The Bottom Line

Almost every injured worker is eligible for workers’ compensation in Des Moines, IA. Thanks to it, they can enjoy several basic rights and receive fair compensation for any damage they suffered. However, the first step to get these benefits is to report the injury to the employer. Failing to do it can turn a simple matter into a more complex one. 

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