Advocates asking for clarity on workers’ compensation laws in Iowa

Published: Sep. 2, 2021 at 6:04 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) -Some advocates in Iowa are asking lawmakers for more clarity on a law that has to do with workers compensation. Four years ago, the Iowa Legislature changed the law, offering less compensation for people with shoulder injuries.

Members of the Iowa Association for Justice wrote an amicus brief to the Iowa Supreme Court asking them for more clarity on shoulder injury. Such as if a rotator cuff injury is a shoulder injury, or a full body. If it’s a full body injury, the injured worker could get more money in a settlement.

Iowa Association for Justice is supporting a lawsuit asking the Iowa Supreme Court for that clarification. The Iowa Supreme Court will decide by the end of the year if they will take up the case.

“It’s a long held principal that laws are to be interpreted liberally in favor of the injured worker,” said Emily Anderson, member of the Iowa Association for Justice, and an attorney for RSH Legal.

Anderson helped her client James Hessenius with a settlement when he hurt his should. He hurt his shoulder when he slipped on ice at his job back at 2010. It stopped him from doing his job helping people with their Prosthetics.

“It became a liability for the patients,” said Hessenius. “Because i use both of my arms to help them walk, help them stand, and I almost dropped a patient a couple of times.”

He rehabs several times per week, hoping to get full range of shoulder. Since Hessenius was hurt before the current law passed in July of 2017, he was able to get more money out of his settlement.

“With this new law, I would’ve lost my house,” he said. “We would’ve been on welfare, because I couldn’t have paid my bills.”

Hessenius hopes the law changes to benefit the people. “It’s purely for the insurance companies to make more money,” he said.

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