Calculating Workers' Compensation Settlements

Calculating workers’ compensation benefits depends on the type of injury and how it’s classified: 

  • temporary;
  • permanent;
  • partial; and
  • total. 

A Des Moines workers’ comp attorney can provide injured workers assistance calculating workers’ compensation benefits and pursuing a workers’ compensation settlement to collect benefits. 

Iowa Weekly Disability Benefit Rates 

The maximum weekly disability benefit rate in Iowa for a temporary and permanent total disability and permanent partial disability is 80 percent of the person’s weekly wages after payroll taxes have been taken out of gross weekly earnings. 

The weekly benefits are based on the injured employee’s recurring wages, not including irregular increases in pay because of: 

  • overtime;
  • bonuses; and
  • reimbursed expenses. 

Temporary partial benefits are payable if the employee must return to a lesser paying position. To calculate workers’ compensation benefits in this case, the difference between previous earnings and current, temporary earnings is considered. Benefits are equal to roughly 66 percent of the difference. 

Maximum weekly rates vary depending on the classification of the disability. The maximum rate for permanent partial disability is $1,378, while the maximum rate for total or partial temporary disability is $1,498. This is also the maximum rate for healing period benefits, which are available during a recuperation period that produces a permanent impairment. 

Iowa Benefit Rates for Volunteers and Officials 

Those who serve in volunteer positions are also eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits: 

  • volunteer firefighters;
  • ambulance drivers;
  • peace officers;
  • emergency medical technician (EMT) trainees; and
  • rescue workers. 

The benefit amounts are equal to what the employees would have received had they been injured during their regular employment, or 140 percent of the Iowa average income per week, whichever is greater. 

For those elected to office, their workers’ compensation weekly benefit amounts would be based on their weekly income or 140 percent of Iowa’s average weekly income rate. 

Reaching a Workers’ Compensation Settlement 

When calculating workers’ compensation settlements, keep in mind that disability benefits and medical benefits may be available to compensate injured workers. The disability benefits were discussed above, while medical benefits cover the employee’s medical expenses arising from the work accident and resultant injury. 

A workers’ compensation settlement may be classified as an agreement for settlement, in which case both sides agree to the amount and extent of benefits, or a compromise settlement, in which case a dispute exists regarding the benefit amount. 

A Des Moines workers’ comp attorney may be necessary to resolve a dispute. An agreement for settlement does not end the employee’s right to future benefits, but a compromise settlement does. 

Further, lump sum payments are not very common, but may be awarded in some cases. This requires approval from the Workers’ Compensation Commissioner, who must see a need for the lump sum payment that is in the employee’s best interests. 

Lump sum payments can be a full commutation: lump sum of all remaining future benefits that ends employee’s right to future benefits or partial commutation: part of remaining future benefits that does not end future rights. 

Contacting a Des Moines Workers’ Comp Attorney 

It is important that injured workers receive adequate workers’ compensation benefit payments based on their injury.  A Des Moines workers’ comp attorney can work to ensure that employees injured on the job receive fair benefits as allowed by state law. Injured workers can consult an attorney for help calculating a workers’ compensation settlement.

About Corey Walker

Corey Walker has received various awards for his work as an attorney, including a 10 out of 10 superb rating from Avvo and an exclusive membership into the top 100 trial lawyers with The National Trial Lawyers Organization. Corey believes in providing free and reliable resources to injured workers and their families regarding the workers' compensation process, and dedicates himself to protecting their rights to fair treatment and compensation for their injuries. Mr. Walker possesses a keen understanding of the delicate nature of work comp cases, and therefore, fights to ensure the futures of his clients are safeguarded from physical and financial distress.

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