Joni L. Ploeger
Joni is an experienced attorney, guiding businesses in workers’ compensation defense and insurance defense litigation.
Joni represents employers, insurers, self-insureds, and third-party administrators in their workers’ compensation matters. She has represented businesses ranging from small businesses to Fortune 500 companies.
She represents her clients in all phases of a workers’ compensation claim from the first report of injury and compensability decisions, to risk assessment, arbitration hearings before the Iowa Workers’ Compensation Commissioner, and appeals before the Iowa district courts and appellate courts.
Joni has worked on workers’ compensation cases involving complex medical issues, including scheduled member, body as a whole, cardiovascular, occupational hearing loss, and mental claims. Her practice involves interpreting medical evidence and assessing claims based on impairment ratings, permanent restrictions, return to work issues, and other industrial disability factors. Because of her experience representing both claimants and employers, Joni understands workers’ compensation cases from different sides and perspectives, giving her a unique and effective approach.
Joni’s objective is to help her clients minimize risk and achieve their goals, so she also advises clients when their trial risk is high and settling is a better option. She has experience mediating cases to a successful resolution and she advises clients throughout the settlement negotiation and finalization process.
Insurance Defense Litigation
Joni helps individuals, businesses, and insurers with matters pertaining to insurance policies, including personal injuries, property damage, bad faith, gross-negligence, and other tort claims. Her work with clients starts before a suit is filed, advising them on investigation strategies, defense strategies, and document and other necessary record retention; her work continues through the commencement of a civil lawsuit, discovery, motions for summary judgments, other motions before the court, expert witnesses, and ultimately trial. She evaluates the risk to the insurers and business clients and advises them on how to attain their desired outcome.
Over the course of her litigation career, Joni has:
- Obtained defense verdicts on alternate medical care matters and allegations of First Report of Injury violations, saving the client from exposure for unnecessary medical expenses and penalties.
- Obtained defense rulings on motions to compel discovery of social media information and attendance at independent medical examinations.
- Prepared the post-hearing brief on a case that involved a statute of limitations defense, which resulted in a defense verdict based on that defense. A favorable decision was also obtained at the district court level with additional briefing and arguments.
- Handled appellate briefing and oral arguments resulting in a favorable decision from the Iowa Court of Appeals upholding the legal standard for review-reopening cases.
- Earned summary judgment on a gross negligent claim, saving the client from exposure for substantial personal injury damages for a workplace injury.
- Successfully argued a summary judgment motion in civil court resulting in the plaintiff voluntarily dismissing the employer, co-worker, and insurance carrier from a civil lawsuit alleging negligence.
- In a slip and fall case, obtained the voluntary dismissal of a landowner/landlord client shortly after a petition was filed due to successfully arguing the terms of the lease as prohibiting a claim against the landowner/landlord as well as basic landowner duty principles.