Propriety of Requests for Iowa Workers’ Compensation Benefits When Employee is Injured Outside the State of Iowa
Iowa workers’ compensation law provides one of the strongest statutory schedule of benefits for injured workers in all of the United States. Accordingly, most claimants have a strong incentive to seek benefits under Iowa’s workers’ compensation laws when at all possible. Many times, we will see situations of workers being injured outside of the State of Iowa who will assert claims under Iowa law.
I.C.A. §85.71 details when an employee injured outside of the State of Iowa may proceed forward with a claim for Iowa workers’ compensation benefits. To be able to have the proper jurisdiction under Iowa law, the claimant must demonstrate any one of the following factors;
• The claimant’s employer has a place of business in Iowa and the employee regularly works at or out of that place of business.
• The claimant’s employer has a place of business in Iowa and the employee is domiciled on the State of Iowa.
• The claimant works under a contract of hire formed in Iowa and the claimant regularly works in the State of Iowa.
• The employee is working under a contract of hire made in Iowa and sustains an injury for which no remedy is available under the workers’ compensation laws of another state. This particular factor essentially formed a contract in Iowa but was injured in another state and the foreign jurisdiction provides no remedy for the claimant’s work related injuries.
• The employee is working under a contract of hire made in the State of Iowa specifically for employment outside the United States. In this circumstance, it is envisioned that the employee had formed his or her contract while in Iowa but was injured in a foreign jurisdiction. Regardless of the foreign jurisdiction, benefits would be recoverable under Iowa law.
• The claimant’s employer has a place of business in Iowa and the contract of hire provides that the workers’ compensation claims would be governed by Iowa law.
Although the statutory factors detailed above are fairly clear, a few words of caution should be given. The Iowa Workers’ Compensation Commission and Iowa appellate courts have defined “place of business” under I.C.A. §85.71 to be extremely broad. Note that “place of business” does not mean “headquarters” or principle place of business. Merely owning a piece of property from which some work is occasionally performed can meet the “place of business” factor of I.C.A. §85.71.
For questions regarding proper jurisdiction or venue in Iowa Workers’ Compensation matters, please contact attorney Paul Barta at firstname.lastname@example.org.