Worker not prevented from filing SIF claim based on bilateral injuries
Case name: Solland v. Second Injury Fund of Iowa, No. 9-692/08-1893 (Iowa Ct. App. 03/10/10).
Ruling: The Iowa Court of Appeals reversed the denial of compensation benefits from the Second Injury Fund in light of an Iowa Supreme Court ruling.
What it means:
According to Iowa law, the SIF's liability for second injuries depends on the parts of the employee's body that are permanently injured in the successive injuries. The bilateral nature of a first injury does not automatically preclude recovery from the SIF for a bilateral second injury.
Summary: A production line worker received treatment for work-related bilateral elbow pain. Seven years later, she was diagnosed with work-related bilateral carpal tunnel syndrome and sought recovery from the SIF. The Workers' Compensation Commission denied the claim, stating that a subsequent loss must include a loss of a member that was not part of the initial loss. The Iowa Court of Appeals ruled that the WCC had misinterpreted the law in light of an Iowa Supreme Court decision. The court concluded that the worker's claim was not barred because the injury to her wrists was to a different "enumerated member" than the first injury, pointing to the Iowa Supreme Court's rationale.
The appeals court noted the WCC focused too closely on the bilateral nature of the injuries rather than the body parts affected. It reversed and remanded the case for the WCC to apply the law correctly.
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April 22, 2010
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