Court’s Ruling Changes Workers’ Compensation Filing Deadline

In December, The Iowa Supreme Court issued a new ruling that would give employees who are injured on the job a greater chance of being awarded workers’ compensation benefits, even if they wait to file their claim. Baker v. Bridgestone/Firestone & Old Republic Ins., 872 N.W. 2d 672 (Iowa 2015).

This ruling modified a “discovery rule” so that an employee who is injured in a traumatic, one-time incident can file a claim years later if the severity of the injury at the workplace is not recognized immediately following the incident.  With this new development, it helps prevent workers from unknowingly losing out on their rights to benefits.

It is important to note that the statute of limitations may be different and only your attorney will be able to tell you definitively when that limitations runs.

Typically, a worker would have two years from the time they realize the extent of a workplace injury to file a claim with the state division of workers’ compensation.

Under the Iowa Code, the Workers’ Compensation Act is designed to provide certain benefits to employees who receive injury, occupational hearing loss, or occupational disease that arises out of and during the course of employment.

If you believe you have a claim for Workers’ Compensation, contact Robert McKinney or Ashley Grieser at (515) 987-4578.

case law

Eminent Domain

Owning private property means you can control who goes onto your land; however some Iowa farmers found out this week that this is not always the case. In a recent court decision, an Iowa farmer was told that he must allow surveyors from Dakota Access LLC onto his land. These surveyors are planning on placing an oil pipeline through Iowa, if they are able to gain the land needed to do so either by agreeing with the farmers or by eminent domain, a rule that allows the government to take private land for public good. We will have to wait and see if the courts determine this land can be taken from the farmers in order to create the pipeline. If you have any questions about this or any other property law issue, please contact Jim at 515-987-4578.

Suitable Work

Do you have a current Workers’ Compensation claim and your employer has offered you work that may not be “suitable work” for your injury? Turning down this work may disqualify you from receiving benefits, however you may be able to still receive benefits if this work is determined to not be “suitable.” In Neal v. Annett Holdings, Inc., the Iowa Supreme Court determined that offering an employee work that was 387 miles away from his residence was not suitable work. 814 N.W.2d 512 (2012). The court noted, “Being away from the support of your wife and family, especially while recovering from a serious work injury, is not an insignificant matter.” Id. At 525. If you have any questions about this or any other Workers’ Compensation issue, please contact Bob or Ashley at 515-987-4578.

Pet Planning

When creating a will, many lawyers ask who you want to take care of your minor children if you should pass away before they are grown. Recently, there has been a concern of what happens to a person’s pet after they die. There are several options to make sure your pets are well taken care of after you pass including putting provisions in your will, setting up a trust with the pet as a beneficiary, or even putting a provision in your power of attorney documents that someone take care of your pets. Contact Jim to discuss these options or any other estate planning concerns you may have at 515-987-4578.

Worker’s Compensation Insurance

Typically, if a worker is injured on the job their only avenue for recovery is through the workers’ compensation system.  However, if their employer does not have workers’ compensation insurance, the injured worker may be able to file a civil suit.  In Danker v. Willimek, the Iowa Supreme Court noted that Iowa Code 87.21 allows an employee to sue for personal injury instead if the employer does not carry worker’s compensation insurance. 577 N.W.2d 634 (1998).  You can check to see if your employer is covered by workers’ compensation insurance by visiting  If you have any questions about this or any other workers’ compensation issue please contact Bob or Ashley at 515-987-4578.

Company Outings

With the 4th of July looming, many companies are sponsoring company outings to allow all employees and their families enjoy this holiday. Did you know that if you get hurt at the company outing, a worker’s compensation claim could arise? In Briar Cliff College v. Campolo, the Iowa Supreme Court outlined several factors the court may look at when determining if the injury could be covered by Worker’s Compensation including whether the injury occurred on the premises during a lunch or recreation period as a regular incident of the employment; whether the employer, by expressly or impliedly requiring participation, brings the activity within employment; or the employer derives substantial direct benefit from the activity beyond what is common to all kinds of recreation and social life. Briar Cliff College v. Campolo, 360 N.W.2d 91, 94 (Iowa 1984). To curb this liability, some companies require employees to sign a release before participating in any company-sponsored activity. If you have any questions about this or any other worker’s compensation issue, contact Bob or Ashley at 515-987-4578.

Summer Fun

Planning a summer get together at your house this weekend? The Iowa Supreme Court recently ruled that your front steps or porch is not public for purposes of public intoxication. In its reasoning, the Iowa Supreme Court suggested that to rule that it was public property would be to make it a “crime to sit there calmly on a breezy summer day and sip a mojito” or even grill with “bourbon-infused barbecue sauce.”  So enjoy your get together in the outdoors before the weather gets cold again, just drink responsibly and don’t wander too far from your front porch.. If you have questions about this or any other criminal law matter, contact Jim at 515-987-4578.


The Iowa Supreme Court released an opinion recently that may have an effect on the hundreds of workers’ compensation cases filed each year in the State of Iowa.  In this opinion, the Iowa Supreme Court clearly stated that surveillance of an employee in anticipation of litigation is work product, meaning that it can be protected from disclosure before any hearing or trial begins but still used during the hearing or trial. This means it does not have to be immediately revealed upon request. If you have been hurt on the job, be aware that you may be under surveillance and what they find could be used against you in your case. If you have questions, please contact Bob or Ashley at 515-987-4578.