Second Injury Fund in Iowa
Created due to the injustice of losing your job and only obtaining a small percentage of benefits.
If, during the course of your employment, you have injured your hands, feet, legs, arms, or eyes, you have suffered what Iowa law refers to as a "scheduled injury." Your injury is deemed "scheduled" because the part of your body that has been injured is listed on a schedule of workers’ compensation benefits that identifies the number of weeks of financial compensation available to you for that type of injury. For example, if you injure your arm, you are entitled to up to 250 weeks of workers’ compensation benefits, and up to 220 weeks of benefits for your leg. The number of weeks of benefits was set by the Iowa legislature many years ago. Thus, for an arm injury, it will be up to your doctor to determine the portion or percentage of the 250 weeks of benefits for which you are entitled to compensation. This is true even if that injury precludes you from continuing in your chosen occupation. Many injured workers, therefore, only receive benefits for a handful of weeks and are terminated from their occupation because they can no longer perform the essential functions of their job. Obviously, this is often not a fair result for the injured worker and their family.
Due to the injustice of losing your job and only obtaining a small percentage of benefits, the Iowa legislature created something known as the Second Injury Fund. The Second Injury Fund was established by the Iowa legislature so that if you have suffered a second injury to your hand, foot, arm, leg, or eye, you should be entitled to additional compensation under certain circumstances. It is also very important to note that the first injury to a foot, hand, leg, arm, or eyes need not be due to a workplace injury. Indeed, we have represented many workers who have sustained childhood injuries that have established their right to additional benefits from the Second Injury Fund.
The Iowa law in this area has been rapidly changing due to many recent decisions by the Iowa Supreme Court. These decisions have actually expanded your rights to compensation under Iowa law. The most significant difference with a Second Injury Fund claim is that you are allowed to argue and produce evidence that the combination of your first and second injuries have had a significant impact on your ability to earn a living. Another significant difference is that the pool of benefits available in the Second Injury Fund case is 500 weeks rather than the 250 weeks for your arm.
If you have suffered an injury to your leg, feet, arms, hands, or eyes, it is important to consult with an attorney who is very knowledgeable in Iowa law and Second Injury Fund claims to determine whether you are eligible for additional compensation from the Second Injury Fund that is established and maintained by the state of Iowa. The attorneys at Wertz & Dake have handled many of these claims, and would be happy to discuss your case at any time.
For more information about Second Injury Fund in Iowa, contact Wertz & Dake today for a free case evaluation at 319-861-3001.