The Iowa Workers’ Compensation Commissioner entered an appeal decision on November 29, 2017 in the case of Heim v. A.Y. McDonald Mfg. Co. The main issue in the Heim case was whether the worker had suffered permanent total disability.
Under Iowa law permanent total disability does not mean that a worker is injured so severely that they are helpless. Instead, the test is whether the injury disables the employee from performing the type of work that their experience, training, education, intelligence and prior physical ability would otherwise permit them to perform. (See here for a longer explanation of how pre-July 1, 2017 permanent total disability injuries are analyzed under the workers’ compensation system. See here for an explanation of the change in how injuries are analyzed for post-July 1, 2017 Iowa work comp injuries.)
The claimant in the Heim case was 63 years old at the time of the workers’ compensation trial. His formal education ended with high school. His work history had generally involved physically demanding jobs.