If a work comp case goes to trial and the injured worker has not yet reached maximum medical improvement, and is not capable of working, then the worker is given what is called a running award. This means that the Claimant is entitled to receive weekly healing period benefits until the worker does reach maximum medical improvement or is able to return to work. On reaching maximum medical improvement or returning to work, the worker would then be entitled to receive permanent partial disability benefits.
Kramer v. Dohrn Transfer Company, Inc. and American Zurich Insurance Co. is a July 12, 2018 appeal decision from the Iowa Workers’ Compensation Commissioner that deals with a contested running award situation. The employee was a truck driver who suffered a mental health injury from a May 23, 2014 motor vehicle accident while driving for his employer. The other vehicle involved in the accident failed to stop at a stop sign. The 18-year-old driver of the other vehicle died in the accident.
The Claimant was very distraught about the accident and stayed off work until June 4, 2014. The Claimant then returned to work through January 14, 2015. During the approximate seven months between June 4, 2014 and January 14, 2015 the Claimant was having a lot of problems. He blew up at his supervisors one day when they asked him to deliver tires. One of his supervisors took him off work for a day because the Claimant was having problems. The Claimant saw a number of doctors and received medication. The Claimant reported to his doctors that he was anxious about driving. The Claimant’s mother also died on July 20, 2014 and this was an additional source of stress.