Eligibility & Rights

To be considered a Des Moines work accident, does it have to be an accident in company vehicle?

If you are in a work-related car accident, it makes no difference whether your accident in company vehicle or your personal vehicle. Car ownership has no bearing on the compensability of the accident under workers’ compensation; rather the determining question is: Were you on the job when the accident occurred?  On-the-Job Car Accidents  If involved in a car accident while on the job – even if you were in your personal car – then your injuries should be compensable under workers’ compensation.  So, what qualifies as being “on the job?” Here are some examples.  You drive for a living, e.g., pizza delivery person Making a delivery for work, e.g., dropping off material at the printer Transporting another employee to a work function Making a bank ... Read More »

Iowa’s Fresh Start Rule: Employers Cannot Deflect Liability for PPD Benefits

There’s been debate in workers’ compensation litigation about whether or not employers can deflect a portion of liability for a worker’s permanent partial industrial disability (PPD) if the worker received PPD at a former job. The Iowa Supreme Court recently issued a decision regarding the matter in the Roberts Dairy vs. Billick appeal. Judge Christopher L. McDonald noted that an employer cannot apportion liability for a worker’s injuries per the “fresh-start rule.”  Employers Cannot Deflect Liability  In the aforementioned case, Judge McDonald provided the definition of the fresh start rule: “[W]hen an employee who has sustained a work-related injury resulting in permanent partial industrial disability begins employment with a new employer, the employee enjoys a renewed earning capacity.”  In other words, when a worker is ... Read More »

Does my employer get in trouble if I file an OSHA complaint after being hurt on the job?

When a Des Moines worker suffers an injury in the workplace, he or she is immediately eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. Those benefits must be dispensed regardless of whether the injury was his/her fault or the employer’s fault. Therefore, your employer doesn’t automatically get into trouble with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) if you have suffered an injury in the workplace.  When is a business cited after an OSHA complaint?  Employers may find themselves facing scrutiny from OSHA if inspections reveal safety violations in the workplace. Employees have every right to report workplace hazards to OSHA if your employer is not addressing workplace safety in Des Moines.  If dangerous conditions in the workplace have harmed you or another employee and the business does ... Read More »

Work Injury Third-Party Liability Claims in Des Moines

If you are an Iowa worker who is covered by workers’ compensation insurance through your employer, you do not have the right to sue your employer if you are injured on the job. Rather, workers’ compensation insurance will provide you with compensation. However, while a lawsuit against an employer usually cannot be filed, in some cases, a work injury third-party liability claim can be pursued.  Examples of Third-Party Liability Claims for Work Injuries  If a third party caused a work injury, then that third party may be held liable for all damages. Examples of a third-party liability claim for damages may include the following.  A car accident caused by a driver who’s not employed with the company A defective piece of machinery of equipment A ... Read More »

What to Do if You’re Working in Unsafe Conditions in Des Moines

If you are a worker in Des Moines, the law affords you certain rights to which your employer must adhere. One of these rights is the right to work in an environment that is free from known hazards or other unsafe conditions. If you’re currently working in a potentially dangerous environment, here’s how to report unsafe working conditions:  Notify Your Employer of Unsafe Working Conditions  If you believe that you are in unsafe working conditions, the first thing that you should do is notify your supervisor of the condition. While employers always should be aware of workplace hazards, sometimes danger is overlooked unintentionally. If your supervisor dismisses your concern or fails to take action, then the next step is contacting a higher authority. Sometimes, this ... Read More »

Federal Black Lung Program for Iowa Coal Miners with Black Lung Disease – Program Faces Controversy

Workers employed in coal mines in Iowa and who developed black lung disease (pneumoconiosis) as a result may recover federal benefits through a black lung program via the federal Black Lung Benefits Act (BLBA). If you have black lung disease due to your employment in a coal mine in Iowa, you too may be able to qualify for benefits under the BLBA.  Meanwhile, controversy surrounds the program because some argue that a doctor hired by the coal industry has harmed many miners’ claims.  Understanding the Black Lung Benefits Act  The BLBA provides a monthly benefit amount to those who developed black lung disease from employment in a coal mine. Monthly benefits also may be paid to a victim’s survivors in the case that the worker ... Read More »

Workplace Safety Rights Under OSHA for Young Workers in Des Moines

Young people have the right to work in a safe work environment. The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), a division of the U.S. Department of Labor, is the agency that regulates working conditions in America. Under OSHA, young workers in Des Moines have certain rights and there are specific health and safety standards by which employers are required to abide in order to prevent young workers from being injured or falling ill on the job.  The Importance of Safety Regulations for Teen Workers At the Protecting Young Workers from Workplace Violence Press Teleconference in June 2014, OSHA Assistant Secretary of Labor Dr. David Michaels provided a few facts that exemplify why safety is such a concern for young workers.  Every nine minutes, a U.S. ... Read More »

List of Jobs for People with Disabilities

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 15 percent of Americans have some sort of difficulty with functioning physically, usually classifying them as disabled. Living and caring for yourself if you have a disability can be extremely challenging. This can be especially so if you are without gainful employment, which provides the means necessary to care for yourself and your loved ones.  If you are disabled, like the 35.2 million other Americans with a physical impairment, you may still be able to find work in a variety of industries despite your disability.  The following provides a short list of suggest jobs for people with disabilities, though disabled people can perform any job in the Des Moines economy, provided they are physically and mentally ... Read More »

Do I need a doctor’s clearance to return to work after an injury or can I go back when I feel I am okay?

Avoid returning to work against the company doctor’s orders. In fact, your employer may not permit you to return to work unless the doctor has cleared you to perform your work duties or adjusted, light duty tasks. If you wish to return to work but your doctor hasn’t yet cleared you to do so, talk to the physician and let him or her know you would like to try.  It can be tempting to return to work once you believe your injuries have sufficiently healed or you just generally feel better. For instance, you may be anxious that you will lose your job or feeling bored by having to spend time at home. But returning to work can be dangerous if you’re not ready to ... Read More »

What is considered “light duty” work?

“Light duty” is a term used to describe the limitations a doctor may impose on a recovering employee who is returning to work after injury or illness. These restrictions are established to protect a worker’s health and safety and reduce the chances of worsening an occupational injury. Restricted – or light – duties are those that a worker who isn’t at full working capacity can safely perform.  Light duty – also known as “modified duty” – is a term most frequently used in the course of a workers’ compensation claim. You may have the right to request light duty reinstatement from your employer, who may be obligated to provide you with such opportunity.  Many employers will seek to accommodate an injured worker’s request for light ... Read More »

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