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Does personal fault impact workers’ compensation eligibility?

On Behalf of | Jan 7, 2024 | Workers' Compensation

Most employees in Iowa can rely on workers’ compensation if their job causes medical challenges. Both those injured at work and those diagnosed with a work-acquired medical condition may qualify for benefits. 

Workers’ compensation can pay for someone’s treatment or replace a portion of their lost income. However, there are sometimes questions about whether a worker actually qualifies for benefits. If someone made a mistake at work that contributed to their injury, does their fault for the incident prevent them from securing workers’ compensation benefits? 

Workers’ compensation offers no-fault coverage

Someone injured at work does not need to prove that their employer caused their injury through negligence or statutory violations. It is not necessary to prove that the employer was at fault because Iowa workers’ compensation provides no-fault coverage

The no-fault standard for workers’ compensation also means that employees don’t have to worry about mistakes that may have occurred at work. No-fault coverage protects even those who unintentionally caused their own injury. 

If someone dropped a tool on their foot or made a timing error while using a machine press, their unintentional contributions to their injury should not prevent them from qualifying for benefits later. Of course, there are some exceptions to this rule. 

Scenarios in which employers can show that workers hurt themselves intentionally may lead to them becoming ineligible for coverage. Additionally, if a worker fails a drug or alcohol test and their employer can show that their intoxication directly contributed to their injury, then the company could potentially attempt to deny that worker benefits. 

In most other circumstances, small mistakes and oversights that lead to someone getting hurt would not automatically disqualify them from filing a claim. Learning more about the rules that govern workers’ compensation coverage in Iowa may help injured employees obtain the benefits they need during their recovery.