HOFFMANN LAW FIRM, PC

 STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS:

Q: What statutes of limitation apply to Iowa claims for workers' compensation benefits?

A: In general, until July 1, 2008, the statutes of limitation for bringing a workers' compensation claim in Iowa have been either two years from the date of injury, if no Iowa weekly benefits have been paid, or three years from the date of the last payment of Iowa weekly benefits. (If, weekly benefits have been paid under Iowa law, regardless of how long ago, under certain limited circumstances, there may be no time limit on claiming further weekly benefits. Also, medical benefits, alone, paid under an Agency award, or Agency approved agreement for settlement, will result in a three-year statute on weekly benefits, starting from the date of the Award or filing of the agreement.)

Also, this statute of limitation does not apply to medical expenses reasonably necessary to treat the injury unless a notice of denial of liability has been filed with the Iowa Workers Compensation Commissioner, within six months of the commencement of weekly benefits. If this notice is not filed, there is no statute of limitations on a medical expense claim.

As of July 1, 2008, benefits paid in another State or country constitute weekly benefits for the purposes of the Iowa statute of limitations and the provisions for notice of termination.

Note: There are, however, three important deadlines. The last two deadlines are listed above. The initial deadline requires an employer to have notice of the work injury within 90 days. See, NOTICE.

Q: We have recently received an official looking form regarding an injury to one of our former employees that took place many years ago, when we had coverage with another workers' compensation insurance carrier. We feel that the statute of limitations has definitely run, may we ignore this document?

A: No, you should immediately provide copies of it to your insurance agent at the time of the injury, to your old insurance company and to your attorney. A response to an Original Notice and Petition must be made within twenty (20) days of its being served on you, or very serious consequences may follow.

Generally, if within two years from the occurrence of the injury the employee does not receive weekly benefits under Iowa law, or file an application for arbitration, all Iowa benefits, both weekly and medical, may be denied.

If, weekly benefits have been paid and an appropriate notice of commencement of benefits has been filed with the Iowa Workers Compensation Commissioner, the employee has three years from the last payment of weekly benefits to file an action, for additional weekly benefits, before the Iowa Workers Compensation Commissioner . Note, however, that if this notice of commencement has not been properly filed, this limitation may not run, ever!

Also, this statute of limitation does not apply to medical expenses reasonably necessary to treat the injury unless a notice of denial of liability has been filed with the Iowa Workers Compensation Commissioner, within six months of the commencement of weekly benefits. If this notice is not filed, there is no statute of limitations on a medical expense claim.

You are also cautioned that other statutes of limitation, both longer and much shorter, may apply to some industrial diseases. As an employer, you should never assume that the statute of limitations has run on any claim, and should always consult your insurance representative, and attorney, promptly whenever a claim for benefits, of any kind, is made. (top)

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