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 This article’s information may be out of date.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.
This time of year, landscaping injuries increase dramatically as more workers are laboring outdoors. Those who do this type of work professionally are far more likely to suffer a work injury than the average worker in Iowa. If you are injured while working as a grounds maintenance worker, it’s important to remember that you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.
Common Hazards for Landscapers
Many hazards can cause injury when working outside. Depending on what kind of work you do, there are a variety of ways that you could suffer an injury. Some common injuries that occur include: being struck by equipment, overturning a mower or tractor while cutting grass, or falling off of a ladder. If you work for a tree service, it’s not uncommon to be struck by a falling branch. Each of these injuries can be painful and affect your ability to work. You may be entitled to workers’ compensation if one of these things happens to you.
Injuries are not always sudden and traumatic. You can also suffer “cumulative” injuries – that is, injuries that appear or get worse over time. Because many aspects of landscaping work require repetitive motion, these injuries are common. It can be difficult to figure out exactly when a cumulative injury occurred. We recommend that you speak to an experienced workers’ compensation attorney as soon as you notice that your injury is affecting your ability to work. Your attorney will be able to tell you what your next steps should be.
Tell Your Employer You’ve Been Injured as Soon as Possible
It’s important to let your employer know about your work-related injury as soon as possible. Iowa law requires that an injured worker notify their employer within 90 days of the work-related injury. If you do not inform your employer promptly, you may not receive the workers’ compensation benefits you deserve.
Because landscaping jobs are often seasonal, you may be afraid to file a claim for benefits because your employer may punish you or even fire you. In Iowa, every injured worker has a legal right to file a claim for workers’ comp benefits. If you are fired for filing a claim, you can bring a wrongful termination suit against your employer for violating the law. It is not legal for your employer to punish you for filing a claim.
Even if the work-related injury was your fault, you could be entitled to benefits. Iowa is a “no-fault” state, which means that an injured worker can receive workers’ compensation benefits regardless of who caused the injury. An employer cannot keep you from getting benefits simply because you accidentally caused your injury.
If you have been injured while performing your grounds maintenance job and don’t know what your next steps should be, download our Law Guide to Iowa Workers’ Compensation Claims by filling out the form on this page. This guide will help answer some questions you may have about filing a workers’ compensation claim in Iowa. If you would like to talk to an experienced Iowa workers’ compensation attorney, call us at 319-519-4193 – there is no cost for an initial consultation.