Huber, Book, Lanz & McConkey, PLLC

Statute of Limitations for Workplace Injury Claims

The injured worker injured his/her back and shoulder at work.The shoulder was injured performing a specific activity followed by a popping sensation.The shoulder pain came on instantly.However, the back pain came on gradually with no specific event.The injured worker believes the back condition is related to years of hard work for the employer involving bending, twisting and lifting. How long does the injured worker have to file a claim with the Iowa Workers’ Compensation Commissioner for each injury?

You should note that the time deadline for filing a petition is called the "statute of limitations". The statute of limitations is found in Iowa Code §85.26 which provides that the injured worker must file a petition with the Iowa Workers’ Compensation Commissioner within two years from the occurrence of the injury when no weekly benefits have been paid or within three years from the last date weekly benefits were paid.

For the shoulder injury the injury occurred when the worker performed the specific activity which caused the popping sensation in his shoulder. With respect to the back injury which isclaimed to be a gradual or cumulative injury, the two-year deadline will not begin to run until the injured worker knows or should know that the condition is serious enough to have a permanent adverse impact on the injured workers'employment, i.e., the injured worker knows or should know the nature and seriousness, and probable compensable character of his injury or condition.

Of course if weekly benefits were paid than the deadline for filing a petition with the workers' compensation commissioner is three years from the last payment of weekly compensation.

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