Pitfalls in the New Iowa Work Comp Laws

What if I Quit After My Injury?”

The new workers’ compensation law that went into effect in July 2017 makes it much more difficult for injured workers to get the compensation they deserve for their injuries. One way the law accomplishes this is with hidden pitfalls that insurance companies hope workers will fall into and save them lots of money.

One of these pitfalls involves quitting your job after your injury. For certain types of injuries, such as injuries to the hips, back, neck, or head, an employer is responsible for compensating the injured worker for limitations on his/her ability to work caused by the injury and the loss of current and potential future employment opportunities because of those limitations. This is called industrial disability. However, under the new law, an employer who offers the injured worker a job at the same or better wage than the worker was making before the injury no longer needs to compensate the worker for industrial disability. This may be true even if the employer offers a job the employer knows the worker can’t perform because of the injury. 
The good news is your employer can’t avoid liability by offering you work after your injury and then later firing you. If they fire you, the new law says they are again responsible for compensating you for industrial disability. However, the bad news is if you quit your job after your injury, your employer may get off the hook permanently. This could potentially lower the value of your workers’ compensation claim by thousands of dollars. 
You may have a good reason for quitting such as family considerations, a better job, a possible business opportunity, or just your overall physical and/or mental health. However, before you quit, you should know how it impacts your workers’ compensation claim. Please give us a call before you quit. We can inform you of your rights under the new law and help you explore all of your options.