Articles Posted in Weekly Rate

Under Iowa law, injuries to body parts such as the head, neck, back, and hips were traditionally compensated based on their effect on a workers’ future earning capacity.

Among the statutory changes that went into effect for injuries after July 1, 2017 was an amendment to Iowa Code Section 85.34(2)(v) which provides:

“If a worker who is eligible for compensation under this paragraph (head, neck, back, or hip) returns to work or is offered work for which the employee receives or would receive the same or greater salary, wages or earnings than the employee received at the time of the injury, the employee shall be compensated based only upon the employee’s functional impairment resulting from the injury, and not in relation to the employee’s earning capacity.”

Under Iowa law a worker is entitled to be compensated for mental injuries that are caused or aggravated by a physical work injury.

The recent Iowa Workers’ Compensation Appeal Decision of Justin Doty v. Clearly Builders Corporation and Zurich North American Insurance Company is a good example of a mental injury developing from a physical injury.

The Appeal Decision also addresses an unusual dispute over the correct weekly workers’ compensation rate.

People frequently ask me whether I can help them recover more money in an Iowa work injury case than they can get on their own. In this blog post I am going to talk about the benefits of hiring an experienced Iowa workers’ compensation attorney if you have been hurt on the job.

1. FREE CONSULTATIONS. Many Iowa attorneys, including lawyers at our firm, will talk to you for free about your case. In these meetings we probably will not be able to figure out everything about your case, but usually we can give you a pretty good idea of the strengths and weaknesses of your case, and an overview of what our strategy would be to handle your case if you wanted to hire us.

2. CONTINGENT FEE. We represent our clients in workers’ compensation, personal injury and wrongful death cases on what is called a contingent fee basis. This means that we get paid a percentage of what we are able to recover for our clients. It also means that if we don’t recover for our clients, then they do not have to pay us.

In Iowa workers’ compensation injured workers are paid benefits based on their individual weekly rate. The weekly workers’ compensation rate will usually roughly equal a worker’s average gross earnings less their average payroll taxes.

Iowa Code Sections 85.36 and 85.37 set out the details of the law for correctly calculating the weekly rate.

The basic procedure for correctly calculating the weekly rate is to start by looking at the worker’s earnings immediately prior to the injury date, and find the first 13 weeks of “representative” earnings. The average of those 13 representative weeks is then applied to the rate table of the Iowa Workers’ Compensation Commissioner that applies to the injury date in question. The Commissioner’s rate tables are set up to take the average gross weekly wage, and reveal the correct weekly rate based on whether the injured worker is married or single, and how many exemptions the worker is entitled to claim.