Huber, Book, Lanz & McConkey, PLLC

Frequently Asked Questions

When is an injury considered to be a compensable workers' compensation injury?

When the injury arises out of and in the course of employment. The term "arising out of" employment means there must be a "causal relationship between the employment and the injury. The "arising out of" element requires that the injury be a natural incident of the work meaning the injury must be a "rational consequence of the hazard connected with such employment." In other words, the injury must not have coincidentally occurred while at work, but must in some way be caused by or related to the working environment or the conditions of . . . employment. Injuries arising out of risks or conditions personal to the employee do not arise out of the employment unless the employment contributes to the risk or aggravates the injury. The words "in the course of" refer to the time, place and circumstances of the injury.

Does an injury have to be the caused by a traumatic incident or an accident in order to be compensable?

No. An injury can be due to repetitive or cumulative trauma caused by work activities over time. Such injuries can include carpal tunnel syndrome, back injuries and shoulder injuries such as rotator cuff tears and impingement syndrome.

What if an employee was injured as a result of horseplay is this compensable?

No, if the injured employee of his own volition initiates horseplay or practical joking and actively takes part.

Within what period of time must an injury be reported?

Unless the employer or the employer's representative shall have actual knowledge of the occurrence of an injury received within ninety days from the date of the occurrence of the injury, or unless the employee or someone on the employee's behalf or a dependent or someone on the dependent's behalf shall give notice thereof to the employer within ninety days from the date of the occurrence of the injury, no compensation shall be allowed. Iowa Code section 85.23.

What types of workers' compensation benefits are available?
  1. Reasonable medical expenses including transportation expenses and lost wages due to attending medical care.
  2. Weekly benefits for time off work or while healing if do not return to work referred to as temporary total disability benefits if injury does not result in permanent disability and healing period benefits if it does.
  3. Weekly benefits for permanent partial disability
  4. Lifetime benefits for permanent total disability
  5. Survivor benefits in case of death
  6. Vocational rehabilitation benefits while attending an accredited school.
Must an employee be off work for a certain amount of time before temporary total disability benefits are due?

Yes. There is a 3 day waiting period. If an employee is off work more than 14 days than benefits must be paid for the first three days of work that are missed.

When is the first payment of weekly benefits due?

The first of weekly benefits is due 11 days after the injury.

If there is a dispute who decides what is owed?

Disputes are decided by the Iowa workers' compensation commissioner, an administrative agency of the state of Iowa which is part of Iowa Workforce Development. Administrative law judges called deputy worker's compensation commissioner preside at the initial hearing and issue proposed agency decisions which become final agency decisions unless appealed to the workers' compensation commissioner. An appeal decision of the workers' compensation commissioner is a final agency decision subject to appeal by filing a petition for judicial review with the Iowa district court. Judicial review decisions of the Iowa District Court are subject to appellate review by the Iowa Supreme Court and Court of Appeals.

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