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Accidents While on the Job




     Injuries to persons while on the job fall under Iowa’s worker’s compensation statute (Iowa Code Chapter 85).  Generally, worker’s compensation insurance purchased by the employer takes care of the medical bills and other losses sustained by the employee.  Worker’s compensation is the “exclusive remedy” for on the job physical injuries against the employer. 

     When an employee is injured by another person outside of the employment relationship, there may be a case against the party who caused the injuries in addition to the worker’s compensation claim.  The classic example of such a situation would be a traffic accident involving an employee on the job struck by a negligent driver. 

     The worker’s compensation insurer that pays the employee benefits has an interest in any claim against the at fault party.  Iowa Code §85.22 provides that if worker’s compensation benefits are paid to the employee, the employer or insurance company shall be indemnified out of the recovery of damages to the extent of the payment so made.  The statute creates a lien in favor of the employer or insurer on the proceeds of any settlement with the at fault party.

     A number of factors may come into play concerning the amount or extent of the worker’s compensation claim.  For example, the employer’s claim may be reduced by attorney’s fees of the injured employee’s attorney.  Certain types of worker’s compensation settlements may bar an employer’s or insurer’s statutory right to indemnification. 

     There are many legal pitfalls concerning on the job injuries caused by another.  Appropriate legal advice is crucial to avoid them.

           

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