Workers' compensation in Iowa can be obtained after a work-related violence incident, presuming it was precipitated during the scope of one's employment. In other words, the worker must prove that some condition or element of the workplace made the worker more susceptible to the injury.
As noted by the Iowa Department of Workforce Development, “injury” in this context is defined broadly as any health impairment (aside from normal bodily strains) that results from employment activity or exposure.
The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) defines workplace violence as consisting of any act or threat of physical violence, harassment, intimidation or other threatening or disruptive behavior that occurs at the worksite. The agency estimates approximately 2 million American workers report being victims of this type of aggression annually (and as some incidents undoubtedly go unreported, the actual number is likely to be higher).
How Is Workplace Violence Compensable by Workers’ Compensation in Iowa?
Iowa workers’ compensation law allows for compensation for medical payments and disability stemming from workplace violence. Unlike a personal injury claim, workers' compensation is a no-fault system, which means that you can collect benefits as long as you were injured on the job. However, if injured, you bear the burden of proof to show you suffered injuries arising out of and in the course of employment.
For example, if your co-worker has a grudge against you and it escalates to violence, this would likely be considered compensable. Each claim must be considered on a case-by-case basis.
Types of Workplace Violence
A study by the University of Iowa College of Public Health examined several types of workplace violence. These included:
- Criminal intent. This occurs when a worker is injured while a third party is in the process of carrying out some other criminal act, such as shoplifting, robbery or trespassing.
- Customer/client. This is when violence erupts while a customer is being served by the worker. This could include an incident like a patient attacking a doctor or nurse.
- Coworker violence. This is when co-workers commit violent acts against each other.
- Personal relationship. This is when someone attacks another with whom they have a personal relationship that is not related to work, such as an estranged husband attacking his wife at her place of employment.
No matter what caused your workplace injury, it's best to speak to an experienced Iowa workers' compensation attorney who can help guide you through your claim. Contact Paul McAndrew Law Firm, PLLC today and find out how we can help you.