There are occasions wherein an injured person is left with a permanent physical or mental problem following a work related injury or an injury suffered because of the negligence of some other person.
Under Iowa Law if you are injured through the negligence of another person and your injuries are such that you will suffer from the permanent effects of that injury you can seek recovery for the fact that you will continue to suffer from both physical and mental pain. If the injury caused you to lose some function of your mind or body you can seek recovery for that permanent loss as well. Additionally if the injury will cause you to permanently lose an ability to work and earn money generally you can recover for that loss.
If you suffer a job related injury and that injury results in permanent disability you may be entitled to permanent partial disability based upon the degree of permanent disability. Permanent partial disability benefits are payable in addition to healing period benefits and are to begin and the termination of the healing period.
There are two types of permanent partial disability benefits in workers’ compensation cases. The first type of permanent partial disability benefits involves a permanent injury to a scheduled member. In cases of scheduled member disabilities, an employee’s entitlement to permanent partial disability benefits is based on loss of function or impairment of that scheduled member. Under the Iowa Workers’ Compensation Law there is a schedule or list of parts of the body along with the value in number of weeks for each member.
For example if you were to suffer an injury to an arm and as a result of that injury you lost 10 percent of the use or function of your arm you would be entitled to receive 25 weeks of permanent partial disability benefits. This amount is arrived at by multiplying 10 percent times 250 weeks which is the total number of weeks you would be entitled to for permanent partial disability benefits if you lost your entire arm.
When a work injury results in a permanent disability to the body as a whole it is referred to as industrial disability. Factors to be considered in determining industrial disability are the employee’s medical condition prior to the injury, immediately after the injury and at the present time. The location of the injury is also looked at. Additionally, the severity of the injury and the length of the healing period is considered in determining industrial disability. The injured employee’s work experience both before and after the injury are also evaluated. An assessment will be make as to whether or not the injured worker has the potential to be rehabilitated. The injured worker’s qualifications intellectually, emotionally and physically also affect an injured worker’s industrial disability. Other factors that are reviewed would be the injured workers’ earnings both before and after the injury, the injured workers’ age, education and motivation or desire to return to work. Industrial disability is also affected by the functional impairment the injured worker has as the result of his or her injury.
Finally, industrial disability is affected by the injured workers’ inability because of the injury to engage in employment for which he or she is suited.
There are no specific guidelines that indicate how all of the above factors are to be considered in determining industrial disability. If you suffer an injury which results in a permanent disability to the body as a whole and you do not understand the concept of industrial disability you should seek legal advice and assistance.