Winter can be a dangerous time of year in Iowa. Roads, sidewalks, and parking lots are frequently covered in thick layers of snow, sleet, or ice, making it more dangerous than usual. Some car accidents or personal injuries are unavoidable, even if you are cautious during Iowa winters.

If you recently injured yourself by slipping or falling at your workplace, you may have the opportunity to file a workers’ compensation claim and start receiving benefits while your body heals. This article outlines three winter situations that could make you eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits if you become injured:

Scenario #1: Car Accident While Traveling for Work

You’re traveling for work in a vehicle during the winter months. It’s snowing or sleeting and the roads are covered with ice. Visibility is poor. You suddenly lose control of your vehicle, or another vehicle near you loses control, and you experience a collision.

In this situation, are you eligible to file a workers’ compensation claim?

The answer is, it depends. Not all situations involving traveling employees are covered by workers’ compensation.

In general, you will likely not be able to file a workers’ compensation claim if you sustain injuries during your ordinary commute to and from work. Likewise, you may not be eligible if you sustain injuries while on an unpaid break away from the workplace, even if you are returning immediately to the worksite.

If, however, you are traveling for work, the rules are different. In Iowa, if an employee traveling for work sustains an injury during his non-working hours, he or she may be covered by workers’ compensation. Many of these situations are dependent on the specific facts of how the injury occurred. If you are injured while traveling for work, it is important to consult with a workers compensation attorney to see if you should be covered on your employer’s plan.

Situation #2: Accident in a Company Parking Lot

You’re leaving work for the day and you slip on ice while walking out to your car located in the company parking lot.

The accident technically occurred on company property, so are you covered under workers’ compensation

The answer is maybe. In order to submit a workers’ compensation claim and receive benefits in Iowa, you must prove the following:

  1. That you were engaged in work activities when the injury occurred or developed, and;

  2. That the nature of those work activities contributed to the injury’s development.

Parking lots and sidewalks can sometimes be considered extensions of workplaces, especially if your employer mandates that you park in a specific lot or a specific spot. If you experience an injury while walking out to your car, the best step to take is to consult with an attorney to determine whether or not you should file a claim.

Here’s another situation that could happen in a parking lot. In this situation, you put your vehicle into reverse to leave your parking spot and exit the parking lot. As you put your car in reverse, another car collides into yours.

Are you covered by workers’ compensation?  The answer will depend on the specific facts of the accident.

Again, the best step to take in this situation is to consult with an attorney to learn more about your options.

Situation #3: Slipping on Ice While Working

You are working in an outdoor yard or warehouse and as you take your next step, you unintentionally slip on ice and experience a fall that results in an injury.

In this situation, are you covered by workers’ compensation?

The answer is yes, you are covered. Because you were on-premise and experienced the injury as a result of doing your normal job duties, you have the right to file a workers’ compensation claim.

When to Speak to an Attorney

If you are unsure whether or not your injury makes you eligible for workers’ compensation benefits, contact the Platt Law firm. We offer free consultations for personal injury and workers compensation inquiries, and we will travel to meet with you if you live outside the Des Moines area. Call us locally to set up a meeting at 515-278-1522, or fill out the form below.

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