Iowa Supreme Court Ruling Expands Work Comp Claims for Injuries Due to Medical Conditions

November 21, 2018

Last Friday, the Iowa Supreme Court issued a ruling that could greatly expand the liability of employers, because the decision will allow individuals to file for workers’ compensation for injuries caused by medical conditions. The case stems from 2012 when a worker with an uncontrolled seizure condition fell on a ceramic floor due to a seizure and suffered brain injuries. The Workers’ Compensation Commissioner ruled the fall was caused by a medical condition, not an injury that arose out of and in the course of his employment, therefore the injury was not compensable under Iowa's workers’ compensation law. The commissioner reasoned that falls on level floors were generally not compensable under the Iowa workers’ compensation law. The Iowa Supreme Court reversed the commissioner, arguing that there isn’t a blanket legal rule for such workplace “idiopathic” falls onto level surfaces, so long as the employee proves that a condition of his or her employment increased the risk of injury–in this case the hardness of the flooring. The case now heads back to the commissioner to determine based on the newly adopted “increased risk” test. Read more from Radio Iowa. Read the full ruling.