Attention! Iowa’s Workers’ Compensation laws changed July 1, 2017. This article’s information may be out of date. Visit our Workers’ Compensation Page for more information.
MISTAKE #1: Losing Your Right to Iowa Workers’ Compensation Benefits Because You Missed an Important Legal Deadline
The most costly error you can make as an injured worker in Iowa is failing to inform your employer that you were injured on the job. Generally, under Iowa law, once a worker discovers that an injury was the result of work-related activities, the injured worker has only 90 days to notify his or her employer that he has suffered an injury and that he believes it is work related.
While some exceptions exist, failure to notify an employer within 90 days of a work injury can result in the loss of your entitlement to Iowa Workers’ Compensation benefits for that injury. Many times, employers will inform the injured worker that they have missed the “notice deadline” based on a mistaken belief that one of the exceptions does not apply, or because the particular employer has some have artificially shorter “notice deadline” that does not comply with Iowa law. If an employer tells you that you’ve missed the deadline, contact an attorney to assess whether what the employer is telling you is legally correct.
The next important legal deadline to be aware of is the 2-year anniversary of the date of a work injury. In Iowa, if an injured worker has not received a workers’ compensation weekly benefit check for a work injury (mileage checks, short/long term disability/vacation or sick leave, and payment for medical treatment alone do not count), that worker must either settle his or her case or file a claim with the Iowa Workers’ Compensation Commissioner within two years or face the loss of his or her entitlement to Iowa Workers’ Compensation benefits for that injury.
A third important legal deadline an injured worker should be aware of is the 3-year anniversary of the date of his or her last workers’ compensation weekly benefit check was mailed (not dated). If you believe that you may be entitled to more than what you have been paid by the workers’ compensation insurance corporation, you must either settle your case or file a claim with the Iowa Workers’ Compensation Commissioner within three years of the date your last weekly benefit check was mailed or face the loss of your entitlement to any additional benefits for that injury.
You cannot rely upon your employer or its insurance company to make you aware of these legal deadlines. Knowing these deadlines and taking necessary action is your responsibility.
To find out the rest of the 7 common mistakes injured workers make, use the form to the right to download the entire Law Guide to Iowa Workers’ Compensation Claims.