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Eligibility for Iowa workers' compensation.

Posted by attorney Michael Hoffmann

Q: Is there any set period of time a worker must be employed before being eligible to receive Iowa worker's compensation benefits for a work injury?

A: No, if the employee would otherwise be covered by the Iowa Workers' Compensation laws, there is no time period for which they must be employed, or work, before these benefits are available to them.

There is a waiting period for payment of weekly benefits which provides that, "Except as to injuries resulting in permanent partial disability, compensation shall begin on the fourth day of disability after the injury." However, this does not mean that they must be employed for four days before coverage takes effect, and their entitlement to medical benefits, and the start of this four day waiting period may begin the moment they set foot on the employer's premises, or even, any area controlled by the employer. Thus, if they were coming to work the first day after being hired, and slipped and fell due to the condition of the employer's parking lot, they would be covered, regardless of whether they had even clocked in!

Provided the injured worker can prove that a condition of his employment increased the risk of injury and the injury did not previously manifest itself, the same would be true of a cumulative injury, even if the injury first manifested itself during his first minute of doing the work.

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