The Court of Appeals of Iowa Enforces and Elaborates on the Strict 90 Day Notice Provision of ICA 85.23
Recently, the Court of Appeals of Iowa elaborated on the issue of how to apply the 90 day notice provision of ICA § 85.23 in cases of cumulative injuries. The applicable statue notes that “unless the employer or employers representatives shall have actual knowledge of the occurrence of an injury within 90 days of the date of the occurrence of the injury…no compensation shall be allowed.” In Chapman v Ameristeel, 2014 WL 42310754, the Court of Appeals of Iowa elaborated on when the 90 day of notice would begin to run for cases for cumulative injuries. The Court noted that although an injury may have occurred, the notice period does not commence until the employee, acting as a reasonable person, recognizes the seriousness, nature, and probable compensable character of the injury. Essentially, the Court noted that the notice period will not begin to run until the employee also knows the physical condition is serious enough to have a adverse impact on the Claimant’s employment or employability.
Additionally, the Court of Appeals of Iowa noted that “actual notice” is required to be given to the employer. The simple fact that the employer, looking at all the information before it, could reasonably be expected to inquire as to the compensable nature of Claimant’s complaints, is not sufficient pursuant to ICA § 85.23.
Accordingly, when investigating whether proper notice was provided for cumulative trauma injuries, the key inquiry is when the employee should have believed that his condition was work related, not the date of injury plead in all circumstances.
For questions regarding assertion of a notice defense, please contact Iowa Workers’ Compensation Attorney Paul Barta at email@example.com.