When an employee is unable to work because of workplace injuries or an occupational disease, including hearing impairment, Iowa employers are required by law to provide workers’ compensation benefits. As long as the injuries are caused by a workplace accident or occupational disease, the employee may receive medical care and lost wages without regard to who was at fault in causing the accident and without having to resort to a lawsuit.
The purpose of workers’ compensation is to provide a system through which injured workers may recover and return to work without having to struggle to meet the medical expenses, lost wages and other costs associated with an injury that puts them out of work. If an employee is unable to return to work, or is limited in the type of work that can be done due to partial disability, there are provisions under the law for benefits payable based upon the extend of the disability.
If a crush injury or other serious accident results in workplace injuries that cause the death of an employee, workers’ compensation provides for death benefits and burial expenses. There is a $7,500 cap on the amount payable toward burial expenses.
Death benefits are payable to the dependent family members of the deceased worker beginning on the date of his or her death. The weekly workers’ compensation benefits are a percentage of the spendable weekly earnings of the employee. There are maximum and minimum caps on the weekly death benefit payments.
A surviving spouse of the worker is entitled to weekly death benefits, but those benefits end if the spouse remarries. Unless there are dependent children to whom the workers’ compensation benefits can continue to be paid after the spouse remarries, there will be a lump sum payment equal to two years of benefits paid to the spouse.
Determining who is entitled to death benefits following work-related accidents and the amounts to be paid involve interpretation of complex state laws. The assistance of a Davenport workers’ compensation attorney might useful to family members with questions and concerns.