What is Workers’ Compensation?
Employees who are injured or suffer an occupational disease in the course of their employment may be entitled to certain benefits under the Iowa Workers’ Compensation Act. These benefits are available regardless of fault, but they are also the exclusive remedy available for the employee against the employer in most cases.
Are employees required to have Workers’ Compensation coverage for their employees?
Iowa law requires most employers have some sort of reliable method for providing workers’ compensation benefits to eligible employees. This requirement can be met through the purchase of a workers’ compensation insurance policy or by becoming self-insured in accordance with the requirements of the Iowa Insurance Commissioner.
Who is eligible to receive Workers’ Compensation Benefits?
With a few specific exemptions, nearly all employees who have work-related injuries in Iowa are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.
What injuries are covered by the Iowa Workers’ Compensation Act?
“Injury” is defined very broadly in Iowa and includes any health impairment other than the normal building up and tearing down of body tissues. Some diseases and hearing losses are also eligible if they were caused by activities or exposures resulting from employment.
What types of benefits are available under the Iowa Workers’ Compensation Act?
Medical Care – The act provides for payment of all reasonable and necessary medical expenses incurred to treat the injury. This also includes transportation expenses incurred in order to obtain the treatment. The employer has a right to choose the medical care provided initially, but if the employee is dissatisfied with the care offered, the employee may be able to seek alternative care. Additionally, if the physician hired by the employer gives a permanent impairment rating that the employee feels is inaccurate, the employee has the right to another examination to determine degree of disability by a doctor of the employee’s choice at the employer’s expense.
Other benefits – Other benefits that may be available depending on the type and severity of injury are: Temporary Total Disability, Temporary Partial Disability, Healing Period, Permanent Partial Disability, Permanent Total Disability. Death benefits may be available to dependents of an employee whose death results from injury.
What time limits exist for Workers’ Compensation claims?
The law in Iowa requires that employees provide notice to their employer within 90 days of the date of injury. In situations involving cumulative trauma, repetitive stress, or aggravations of preexisting conditions it can be difficult to determine what qualifies as the date of injury. Verbal notice may satisfy the notice requirement; however, it is always advisable to provide written notice of injury to the employer.
In addition to initial notice requirements, there are also time limits related to filing a petition with the Workers’ Compensation Commissioner. This is the filing that begins the litigation process for workers’ compensation disputes. If the employee did not receive weekly benefits, then the workers’ compensation petition must be filed within two years of the date of injury. If the employee was paid weekly benefits, the petition must be filed within three years of the last date weekly benefits were paid.
It is important to note that if multiple body parts were injured, it is possible that the injuries would have different time limits, even if they arose from the same incident.
An Iowa Workers’ Compensation attorney can help make sure that your workers’ compensation claim moves smoothly and your rights are protected.