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.

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 http://www.iowaworkcomp.gov/employers-workers-compensation-insurance-coverage-verification.  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.