Iowa Workers' Compensation Reform Update

Dentons Davis Brown
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Governor Branstad signed the workers’ compensation reform bill into law Thursday, March 30. The bill affects injuries on or after July 1, 2017.

Here are the top 10 changes:

  1. Shoulder becomes a scheduled member injury based on 400 weeks.
  2. Industrial disability analysis shall take into consideration “the number of years in the future it was reasonably anticipated that the employee would work at the time of the injury.”
  3. If the employer offers the employee suitable work and the employee refuses the offer, no TPD, TTD, or Healing Period Benefits.
  4. The date of the injury, for notice and statute of limitations, means the date that the employee knew or should have known that the injury was work related.
  5. If employer shows at time of injury or immediately following, the employee had positive test results for alcohol or drugs and the drug is not prescribed by medical practitioner or not used in accordance with prescribed use, there is a presumption of intoxication and that intoxication was a substantial factor causing injury.
  6. Compensation for Permanent Partial Disabilities and Permanent Total Disabilities has been updated in a number of areas including the date when PPD compensation begins, the inability to receive both PPD and PTD payments, when PTD benefits are forfeited due to employee receiving other payments, and clarifying that no PTD benefits can be received when receiving unemployment compensation.
  7. Commutations now require the consent of all parties.
  8. Employer is not liable for compensating an employee’s preexisting disability that arose out of and in the course of employment from a prior injury with the employer, to the extent that the employee’s preexisting disability has already been compensated.
  9. The bill removes language stating that for an injury occurring outside of the state, an employee is entitled to benefits where the employer has a place of business in this state and the employee is domiciled in the state. The jurisdictional language now states, “The employer has a place of business in this state and the employee regularly works at or from that place of business.”
  10. There will be no recovery of attorney fees based on the amount of compensation voluntarily paid or agreed to be paid for temporary or permanent disability.

 

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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