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Significant Changes to Iowa Worker’s Compensation Law

Posted on Jun 13, 2017

Earlier this year, Iowa Governor Terry Branstad signed a workers’ compensation reform bill. The bill was passed along party lines with Republicans largely in favor of the bill and Democrats largely against the proposed changes. Those in favor of the bill argued that the revisions to Iowa workers’ compensation law were financially necessary, that the new law would reduce litigation, and that the changes will encourage injured workers to train for new jobs. Those against the bill argue that it will unfairly hurt injured workers.

Three Things You Need to Know About the Changes to Iowa Workers’ Compensation Law

The new law changes:

  • How shoulder injuries are compensated. Shoulder injuries that occur on or before June 30, 2017 are considered full-body injuries. Shoulder injuries that occur on or after July 1, 2017, however, will be scheduled extremity injuries. The change means that workers who suffer shoulder injuries can only recover workers’ compensation for a limited number of weeks. The new law also requires employers to pay up to $15,000 for the education or retraining of workers who suffer these types of injuries. The changes are expected to reduce shoulder injury workers’ compensation payments by 68%.
     
  • How pre-existing conditions are considered. If you were hurt at work and received workers’ compensation in the past, then your current claim for workers’ compensation may be impacted.
     
  • How positive alcohol or drug tests are treated. Under the new law, if you test positive for alcohol or drugs then there is a presumption of intoxication and a presumption that the intoxication was a significant factor in causing the work injury unless there is a prescription from a medical provider.

The law will impact injuries that happen on or after July 1, 2017. The new law also contains other provisions that could impact your rights if you’ve been hurt at work. For that reason, it is important to talk to a workers’ compensation lawyer as soon as possible after you are hurt. Please browse our free resources or call us directly to learn more.

Jason F. Abraham
Managing Partner, Hupy and Abraham

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