Iowa’s workers’ compensation law will be changing for idiopathic falls. This change will go into effect on July 1, 2019. Therefore, work injuries occurring on or after July 1, 2019, will be subject to the new law.
Iowa Code Section 85.61(7) was amended to further define “personal injuries arising out of and in the course of the employment[.]” The following new paragraph has been added:
“c. Personal injuries due to idiopathic or unexplained falls from a level surface onto the same level surface do not arise out of and in the course of employment and are not compensable under this chapter.”
Before the amendment, Iowa Courts had ruled there was “no blanket rule rendering certain categories of workplace idiopathic falls noncompensable so long as the employees proves that a ‘condition of his [or her] employment increased the risk of injury.’” Bluml v. Dee Jay’s Inc, 920 N.W.2d 82 (Iowa 2018) (quoting Koehler Elec. v. Wills, 608 N.W.2 1, 5 (Iowa 2000)). .
It will take some time, and perhaps Commissioner and Court guidance to fully determine how this change will impact future workers’ compensation claims. We are here to help consult with you about a particular claim, or to discuss how to modify your procedures to reflect this new rule. Please give our firm a call with any questions.