The workers’ compensation benefits under Iowa law for permanent injuries are typically greater than those available under Nebraska law. As such, finding a way to bring a claim under Iowa law can be of primary importance if there is a potential jurisdictional issue between the two states.
Iowa Code 85.71 provides the framework for helping to resolve this issue. Put simply, an injury that occurs inside the borders of Iowa is most likely going to qualify to be brought under Iowa law. However, even injuries that occur outside the borders of Iowa can still be covered under Iowa law in certain common instances as detailed below:
1. The employer has a place of business in Iowa and:
a. the employee regularly works at or from that location;
b. the employee lives in the state of Iowa.
2. The employee is working under a contract of hire made in Iowa, and the employee regularly works in Iowa.
3. The employee is working under a contract of hire made in Iowa and sustains an injury for which no remedy is available under the workers’ compensation laws of another state.
4. The employer has a place of business in Iowa, and the employee is working under a contract of hire that provides that the employee’s workers’ compensation claims will be governed by Iowa law.
An injured employee also needs to be careful about filing in a different state than Iowa. Under Iowa Code 85.72, the Iowa action will be stayed pending the resolution of that claim in another state. This means that the Court cannot take up any issues in Iowa while there is another pending legal action in another state concerning the same date of injury.
The difference in benefits between the two states can amount to tens of thousands of dollars. Additionally, there are a number of differences in the laws of the two states that can play a role in how the claim is handled, including the appropriate statute of limitations, which dictates how soon a claim must be filed in Court. As such, it’s important to contact an attorney licensed in Iowa and Nebraska to discuss these differences so we can help you decide which state’s law is better for you and to help you navigate the relative pitfalls in each state.