Shoulder Injuries under Iowa Workers’ Compensation Law

by | Apr 10, 2018

Given some of the recent changes in Iowa law, Baylor Evnen wanted to take the opportunity to inform employers regarding indemnity exposure for shoulder injuries. For injuries occurring prior to July 1, 2017, shoulder injuries are considered injuries to the body as a whole. What is the effect of that? If an employee has an injury to the body as a whole, they are entitled to assessment of industrial disability. Given that industrial disability looks at many personal factors including but not limited to employment status, education history, work history, and the permanent work restrictions, an employer has little predictability in the context of exposure for a shoulder injury incurred by an employee prior to July 1, 2017.

However, for injuries occurring subsequent to July 1, 2017, an injury to the shoulder is now considered a scheduled member injury. What is the effect of that? An employee’s entitlement to indemnity benefits is limited to 400 weeks measured against any permanent impairment rating for the upper extremity. If the injury is solely to the shoulder, there is no entitlement to assessment of industrial disability. This provides a fairly straightforward manner for the employee and employer to understand their rights and obligations for workers’ compensation indemnity for shoulder claims.

If you have any questions regarding Iowa workers’ compensation law, please don’t hesitate to contact Iowa workers’ compensation attorney Paul Barta at or (402)475-1075.