Deputy Christenson Elaborates on What Constitutes “Notice of an Injury” Under ICA §85.23
Recently, in Small v Crinc LC, Deputy Christenson elaborated on when a Claimant will be barred for failure to give adequate notice under ICA §85.23. Deputy Christenson noted that ICA §85.23 requires an employee to give notice of the occurrence of an injury to the employer within 90 days from that occurrence unless the employer has actual knowledge of the occurrence of the injury. Deputy Christenson also noted that the failure to give adequate notice is an affirmative defense which the employer must prove by a preponderance of the evidence. It was noted that the time period giving notice for filing a claim will not begin to run until the Claimant has a reasonable person who should recognize the nature of seriousness and probably compensable character of the injury. However, despite the “reasonable person” standard, the reasonableness of Claimant’s conduct must be judged in light of the individual Claimant education and intelligence. For an employer to have actual knowledge of an injury, the employer must have information that an injury might be work related. General information that the Claimant has a physical problem without more than that is insufficient notice. In the case of Small v Crinc LC, Deputy Christenson determined that based on the conflicting testimony of the Claimant and the employer representatives, when viewed in light of statements made in medical records, Claimant had failed to give notice within 90 days. This constituted a complete bar to compensability of his claim even if work-related. It appears that the Commission still takes a hard line regarding the 90 day notice provisions. Accordingly, employers should continue to document the actual day they received notice of an injury for purposes of potentially preserving such a defense. For questions regarding Iowa Workers’ Compensation matters, please contact Paul Barta at firstname.lastname@example.org or 402-475-1075.