Modified Workers’ Compensation Reform Bill Is Passed By Iowa House of Representatives, Still Must Be Addressed By Iowa Senate

by | Mar 17, 2017

Recently House file 518 was passed by the Iowa House of Representatives. This was the House’s version of the Iowa Workers’ Compensation Reform Bill. Please note that the Iowa Senate still would have to vote on and pass the reform bill before it would be presented to the Governor. Some amendments were made to the original reform bill. However, the House bill, if ultimately enacted would do the following:

• Places a burden of proof on a claimant who has tested positive subsequent to an injury for alcohol or other specified drugs to prove that they were not intoxicated at the time of the injury and that their intoxication was not a substantial factor in causing their injury;
• Modifies the “date of injury” for repetitive trauma cases;
• Specifies what a “suitable return to work offer” constitutes and when an employer may deny temporary total disability benefits when the same has been made to an employee;
• Modifies the starting date for when an employer must pay permanent partial disability benefits;
• Requires reviewing Deputy Commissioners to only award schedule member indemnity based on actual impairment ratings from medical doctors;
• Requires that in cases of body as a whole injuries, if the employee has returned to work or is offered a return to work at the same or greater salary that the employee received at the time of the injury – that employee would only be awarded permanent partial disability benefits based upon the permanent impairment rating as opposed to loss of earning capacity;
• Addresses a stronger balance when it comes to compensation for a pre-existing disability;
• Requires that commutations be agreed upon by the employer before the agency can grant the same;
• Notes that for shoulder injuries the same is a scheduled member injury measured against 400 weeks and provides new vocational training opportunities for employees at the employers expense (up to $15,000.00);
• And regulates the fees Claimant’s counsel may take in certain cases

This appears to still be a very fluid bill in the context of what may ultimately be passed and forwarded to Governor Branstad however, if you have questions regarding potential effects of the legislation as it currently stands please don’t hesitate to contact Baylor Evnen’s Iowa Workers’ Compensation attorneys Amanda Phillips or Paul Barta at or