Law Offices of Gallner & Pattermann, P.C. - Personal Injury

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Workers' Comp Attorneys Fee Cuts Ruled Unconstitutional

The Iowa Workers' Compensation insurance system, is, as its name suggests, an insurance program. You know that insurance policies are always complex, especially if you have ever had to make a claim on your car or homeowners insurance.

It may not be the actual filing of the claim that is complex, but if there is an question of whether the claim is within the scope of the coverage or any other details relating to the insurance contract, you may find yourself quickly confused and unsure how to proceed.

With workers compensation, the process is even more complex. If you have anything more than a minor injury that quickly heals, you may find yourself fighting the insurance company over doctors, examinations, prescriptions, surgeries, and the time it takes for you to fully heal.

Layer over all of that arcane medical terminology and the legal requirements of an insurance contract combined with the bureaucracy of the insurance company and your frustration level may increase to a painful degree.

For many injured workers, finding a workers' compensation attorney to assist them is a necessity. In Florida, an attempt by the legislature to weaken workers' compensation has been found unconstitutional by the state's Supreme Court. This is important to workers all across the nation, because workers' compensation programs have been under assault in many states.

The court found that the reduction in reimbursement of fees to attorneys violated the due process rights of workers, buecase it made in non-economic for attorneys to represent clients. In one case highlighted, an attorney was reimbursed $164.54 for 107 hours of work, or about $1.53 an hour.

Reducing attorney's fees saves insurers directly, but it also affects the total number and type of claims. If attorneys cannot afford to represent some clients, those clients will either stop filing claims altogether or will attempt to file and fail, further reducing the cost to insurance companies.

Of course, those injured workers will not suddenly be transformed into healthy workers by this denial of claims. Their injuries are real and will interfere with their ability to work until the suffer a devastating injury. Or with something like a back injury, they may be denied a later claim due to the presence of a preexisting condition.

Such an injury could potentially end their ability to work at all. Then, a program like Social Security Disability will become their only option.

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