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3 things to know about Iowa's new workers' compensation law

A new workers’ compensation bill passed in the Iowa Legislature, and Governor Terry Branstad signed it into law on March 30, 2017. It goes into effect for injuries sustained on July 1, 2017 and after. If you are a worker in Iowa, you might be wondering how this new workers’ compensation law will impact you.

First and foremost, if your injuries occur before July 1, your workers’ compensation claim will not be affected by this new law. If you get injured after, however, you should know the following details.

1. Shoulder injuries are treated differently

As of now, Iowa law classifies shoulder injuries as full-body injuries. This means that compensation is based on more than the severity of the injury, including age, experience and education. With this new law, shoulder injuries will be treated as scheduled extremity injuries. Compensation will only be based on the severity of shoulder impairment.

2. Alcohol and drug tests are considered

The new law also brings new weight to alcohol and drug test results. If an employer shows the injured worker tested positive for alcohol or drugs when he or she got injured or directly after, the law presumes intoxication was a significant factor contributing to the injury.

3. Out-of-state changes

Right now, employees are able to get benefits for injuries occurring outside of Iowa under these conditions: the employee lives in the state, and the employer has a location in the state. The jurisdictional language in the new law says that the employee has to regularly work at the specific location in Iowa.

Some workers are afraid that they will not be able to get the compensation they deserve under this new law. If you have these concerns and want to know more about how this law will affect you, you should talk to a workers’ compensation attorney. An attorney will help you interpret your legal rights to compensation and fight for you.

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