Iowa workers’ compensation laws require that nearly all Iowa companies carry insurance to compensate employees who are injured on the job for their injuries and lost wages. If you are injured in an Iowa workplace accident, however, you may also have to replace personal property like damaged clothing, a mobile phone or other technology device, glasses, or medical devices like hearing aids. You may be able to recover the cost of replacing these items in one or more ways—possibly as part of your workers’ compensation claim.
What Property Damage Does Iowa Workers’ Compensation Cover?
Iowa state law sets forth what all employer workers’ compensation policies must include, and the Iowa Division of Workers’ Compensation publishes a helpful guide outlining the current workers’ compensation benefit types and amounts. Compliant workers’ compensation policies cover
· all reasonably necessary medical care related to the treatment of your injury, including hospital care, doctor visits, prescriptions, physical therapy, rehabilitation, medical devices, and more;
· necessary transportation expenses to get to and from your medical appointments;
· compensation for lost wages; and
· compensation for temporary or permanent total or partial disability.
Personal property that is a medically necessary expense related to your injury is covered pursuant to statute, including devices that are necessary to help you keep up at work or at school or help with daily activities (“assistive technology”). You may be able to successfully seek reimbursement from your employer’s workers’ compensation carrier for replacing items like eyeglasses, pacemakers, or hearing aids that are necessary to make a full recovery from your workplace injuries, return to the workforce, and/or mitigate the extent of your long-term disability or impairment.
Replacing Non-Medical Personal Property
If an employee’s non-medical personal property is damaged during a workplace injury or accident, Iowa law does not require your employer’s workers’ compensation policy to replace it or provide compensation. However, every insurance policy is different, and some include coverage for personal property damaged in a verifiable work-related occurrence. You should talk to your employer about its coverage and ask that the carrier’s claims department investigate whether your damaged personal property qualifies for replacement under the policy.
If your employer’s insurance carrier denies coverage under its workers’ compensation coverage, other kinds of insurance may apply to your situation. You may be able to pursue a claim for reimbursement under the liability portion of your employer’s commercial property insurance. If you have individual homeowners insurance, renters insurance, or umbrella coverage, you may be able to seek replacement of your property under those policies in excess of any deductibles. Making such a claim may be a good option for high-value items like computers, mobile devices, watches, or jewelry lost or damaged in a workplace accident.
If someone other than your employer or a co-worker was at fault for the incident that caused your work-related injuries, you may be able to pursue a personal injury claim against the individual or entity, which can include damages to replace or repair your lost or damaged property.
Workers’ Compensation Protection for Iowa Employees
If you have been injured at work, contact the Platt Law Firm today. We will review the facts of your situation and help you figure out whether you are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits for medical expenses, lost wages, temporary or permanent disability, or other covered expenses. An experienced workers’ compensation attorney can help protect your rights during the valuation process and expertly guide you through the complicated and often confusing workers’ compensation process. Don’t wait; contact Platt Law today.