Practice Area: Worker's Compensation

Big Changes Will Impact Workers’ Compensation Claims

April 10, 2017

Iowa’s workers’ compensation law will be changing significantly for injuries that occur after July 1, 2017.  We have summarized many of the changes below, but it will take some time, and perhaps Commissioner and Court guidance to fully determine how the changes will impact our claims. We are here to help consult with you about […]


Thole Successfully Defends Insurer in Declaratory Judgment Action

September 12, 2016

Plaintiff NE Iowa Silo purchased a workers’ compensation insurance policy through an independent insurance agent. Plaintiff has job sites and employees based in Iowa and Wisconsin. The insurance agent told plaintiff the workers’ compensation policy provided coverage for employee injuries arising under Iowa and Wisconsin workers’ compensation law. While working in Wisconsin, one of plaintiff’s […]


Appellate Court Affirms Commissioner’s Finding of Causation and Industrial Disability

April 11, 2016

Employer Pella Corporation appealed a district court order affirming the commissioner’s decision that a forklift accident caused a rotator cuff tear in its employee’s right shoulder, and that the employee, Charlie Marshall, was entitled to an award of twenty percent industrial disability. The Iowa Court of Appeals affirmed the district court’s holding. Marshall was struck […]


Iowa Supreme Court Holds Discovery Rule Applies to Singular and Cumulative Injuries in Workers’ Compensation

December 23, 2015

Plaintiff sustained a back injury at work on May 23, 2010.  On May 23, 2012, his employer notified him it would no longer pay for his medical care as the two-year statute of limitations for workers’ compensation benefits had expired.  Plaintiff filed two petitions with the Workers’ Compensation Commission – one alleging an injury on […]


Iowa Court of Appeals Clarifies Workers’ Compensation Issues on Intervening and Superseding Cause and Payment of Medical Expenses

December 3, 2015

The Iowa Court of Appeals recently issued a ruling on intervening and superseding cause and payment of past medical expenses in the workers’ compensation context.  An employee injured his back in the course and scope of employment on August 15, 2011.  He returned to full-duty work with no restrictions on August 24, 2011.  On October […]


Insurers Beware—Pay-For-Performance Program Used to Support Punitive Damages In Bad Faith Claim

July 20, 2015

An eleven year old girl, K.N.T., was seriously injured in an ATV accident. The drivers of the ATV were uninsured, so K.N.T.’s mother filed an uninsured motorist claim with her own insurance provider, American Family. The American Family claims manager responsible for the claim denied it, citing an exclusion contained in a generic American Family […]


Workers’ Compensation’s Alternate Care:  Burden on Claimant to Show Treatment Offered is Unreasonable

June 19, 2015

In Lynch Livestock, Inc. v. Bushell, No. 14-1133, filed May 20, 2015, the authorized treating doctor for an accepted claim had recommended a laparoscopic lumbar sympathectomy for long-term relief and resolution of pain from CRPS. The employer presented the opinion of a different doctor recommending conservative treatment and psychological assessment of claimant instead of the […]


Surveillance Is Work Product

June 17, 2015

In Iowa Insurance Institute v. Core Group, No. 13-67 (June 12, 2015), the Iowa Supreme Court held that surveillance (video, reports) in workers’ compensation cases is protected work product and will be treated differently than medical records and reports that must be produced upon receipt pursuant to Iowa Code section 85.27(2). This negates the agency […]


Workers’ Compensation’s “Fresh Start” Rule Does Not Apply to Cases of Concurrent Employment

June 16, 2015

The Supreme Court of Iowa held in Warren Properties v. Janice Stewart, No. 13-0474 (May 29, 2015) that an employer who is liable to compensate an employee for a successive unscheduled work injury is not liable to pay for the preexisting disability that arose from employment with a different employer, or from causes unrelated to […]


Jessica Cleereman Appointed Chair of Workers’ Compensation Section

February 25, 2015

Jessica Cleereman has been appointed by the president-elect to serve as chair of the Workers’ Compensation Section of the Iowa State Bar Association. The ISBA sections carry out the work of the association under the guidance of the ISBA Board of Governors. Sections are made up of members who practice in a particular area of […]