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  • Writer's pictureTom Fowler

What Is Industrial Disability in Iowa? – What to Expect from the Law

Industrial disability is defined as a partial or total impairment of earning capacity or ability to perform work. The goal of an industrial disability rating is to provide some measure of a worker's functional impairment and consequent loss in earning capacity.

This degree of disability is calculated by looking at how much the person's earning capacity has been reduced. Iowa’s workers' compensation system requires employers to compensate laborers for total and permanent disabilities. Learn more about what qualifies for disability in Iowa.

Different Types Of Industrial Disabilities

Different Types of Industrial Disabilities

Iowa workers' compensation law recognizes two types of disability: (1) Temporary Total Disability (TTD), and (2) Permanent Partial Disability (PPD).

TTD is paid to an injured worker who, as a result of a work-related injury, is unable to return to work. PPD is paid to an injured worker who has reached maximum medical improvement (MMI), but who still has a permanent impairment as a result of the injury.

This system is based on a no-fault principle, meaning that an injured worker will be eligible to receive benefits regardless of who was at fault for the accident. The amount of these benefits will depend on the severity of the injury and how it affects the worker's ability to return to their previous job or find new employment.

Can Workers Sue Employers for Industrial Disability?

A work injury can be a very serious and life-changing event. If any worker has been injured at their job, they may be wondering if suing the employer for pain and suffering is possible. However, the answer is no. Workers cannot sue their employers for industrial disability in Iowa.

The reason is that Iowa is what is called a “no-fault” state in America when it comes to claiming workers’ compensation. It doesn’t matter who was at fault for the accident, as the employer is always responsible for paying medical bills and a portion of lost wages. In exchange, workers have to give up their rights to sue the employer.

How Is Permanent Partial Disability (PPD) Calculated in Iowa?

Permanent partial disability (PPD) is calculated differently for industrial disability benefits in Iowa as compared to other states. The Iowa Workers' Compensation Commission has set a table of loss of function scheduled member values.

This system assigns a certain number of points to each body part that is injured. An injury to the arm, for example, might be worth five points, while an injury to the hand might be worth three.

On the other hand, workers can also expect to receive scheduled weeks of benefits depending on the loss of each member:

  • Arms: 250 weeks

  • Foot: 150 weeks

  • Leg: 220 weeks

  • Eye: 140 weeks

  • Entire body: 500 weeks.

These factors also include: age, education, experience, earnings history, and prior permanent disability. Most importantly, the nature and extent of the worker's injury and its effect on their ability to return to work also needs to be calculated.

How To Seek Workers’ Compensation In Iowa

How to Seek Workers’ Compensation in Iowa

Although Iowa is not a no-fault state, meaning that an injured worker cannot seek compensation without first demonstrating that someone else was at fault for their injuries, there are several ways that an injured worker can use to seek financial relief.

The first thing to do is hire a qualified Des Moines workers compensation attorney who can fight for their clients’ rights. Experienced lawyers will know the ins and outs of the workers' compensation system and can help plaintiffs get the benefits they deserve.

A lawyer can be very helpful in getting laborers the workers' compensation to which they are entitled if the employer's insurance carrier denies the claim. Sometimes, the insurance company will deny a claim outright. Also, learn what DWC means in workers comp.

Other times, the company will accept liability (meaning that it agrees that someone was injured at work and that the injury is work-related), but it will dispute the extent of injuries or the amount of time the worker will need to recover.

A qualified attorney can help workers get the benefits to which they are entitled by:

  • Investigating the facts of the case

  • Interviewing witnesses from the workplace

  • Negotiating with employers and insurance carriers

  • Taking the trial to court.


The no-fault system of Iowa leaves many loopholes that employers and insurance companies can wrongfully use to their advantage. However, workers can also receive maximum compensation for their losses by hiring a professional lawyer.

It can be expensive to work with an attorney initially, however, victims will be compensated rightfully following the success of a lawsuit.



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