If an injured worker in an Iowa workers’ compensation case is found to have suffered permanent total disability, then the worker is entitled to receive weekly benefits for the rest of their life.
Under Iowa law, permanent total disability does not mean a state of absolute helplessness. Permanent total disability occurs when the injury wholly disables the employee from performing work that the employee’s experience, training, education, intelligence and physical capabilities would otherwise permit the employee to perform. A finding that an injured worker could perform some work despite the worker’s physical and educational limitations does not rule out a finding of permanent total disability.
In a recent May 3, 2018 appeal decision in the case of Houston v. Harding Enterprises, LLC d/b/a Tuffy Auto Service Center and Accident Fund National Insurance Company, the Iowa Workers’ Compensation Commissioner reviewed and approved a decision in which permanent total disability benefits had been awarded.