Workers' Compensation

Iowa: High Court Allows Apportionment for Prior Disability, Clarifies Earlier Ruling

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where an Iowa employee worked concurrently for employer A (“A”) and employer B (“B”), sustained compensable permanent injuries while working for A, received a permanent impairment award from A and, after ceasing employment with A, suffered an additional work-related injury working for B that resulted in additional permanent impairment, B’s liability must be apportioned between the two employers pursuant to Iowa Code § 85.34(7)(a), held the Iowa Supreme Court. Citing Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law and distinguishing the facts from another recent apportionment case, Roberts Dairy v. Billick, 861 N.W.2d 814, 817 (Iowa 2015), the Court stressed that in the instant case, the employee’s initial permanent injury occurred while working for a concurrent employer whereas in Roberts Dairy, the employee had worked for successive employers. In Roberts Dairy, the Court had concluded that Iowa Code § 85.34(7)(a) did not apply when the earning capacity of the employee had been “reevaluated by the competitive labor market” [861 N.W.2d at 823], as occurred when the employee took new employment. The Roberts Dairy court had held that the employee gained a “fresh start” when he began his subsequent employment; the subsequent employer was not entitled to apportion its liability for PPD benefits. In the instant case, the apportionment principle applied because the reduction in the employee’s earning capacity from the employer A injury was never adjusted or “reset” by the competitive labor market.

Thomas A. Robinson, J.D., the Feature National Columnist for the LexisNexis Workers’ Compensation eNewsletter, is the co-author of Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law (LexisNexis).

LexisNexis Online Subscribers: Citations below link to Lexis Advance. Bracketed citations link to lexis.com.

See Warren Properties v. Stewart, 2015 Iowa Sup. LEXIS 64 (May 29, 2015) [2015 Iowa Sup. LEXIS 64 (May 29, 2015)]

See generally Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, § 90.02 [90.02]

Source: Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, the nation’s leading authority on workers’ compensation law.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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