No matter how much care is allocated to making the workplace safe, workplace accidents and injuries can still occur. As an employer, you are aware of this and have taken steps to help better protect the company if and when an employee is harmed during the course of their employment. Workers’ compensation is designed to provide benefits for injured employees in Iowa and elsewhere; however, the program is also designed to determine if an employee is eligible and entitled to these benefits.
Even when an injury or occupation illness occurred at work or was related to his or her employment, this does not mean they are compensable. Because of this, both employers and their insurers have various workers’ compensation defenses they could apply to a claim for workers’ comp.
There are eight common workers’ compensation defenses an employer could use. The first is when an employee failed to give notice to their employer. State laws concerning workers’ compensation provide that an injured worker is to give their employer notice of their injury within a certain timeframe, typically 30-90 days. Next, there is a statute of limitations for filing workers’ compensation claims. This tie limit can range from one to three years from the date of the injury.
Other defenses include self-inflicted injuries, the injury having no causal link to his or her employment, the injured employee failing to attend doctor appointments, evidence supporting that the injury is not as bad as the employee claimed, the injury was caused by willful negligence or horseplay and the cause of the injury cannot be established.
The purpose of asserting a workers’ compensation defense is to determine if individuals are abusing the system or simply do not qualify for workers’ compensation despite suffering an injury in the workplace. These matters can get complicated and multifaceted, which can make it difficult on you, as the employer, working through this matter while also interacting with your employees seeking workers’ compensation. Because of this, it is important that you are aware of the pertinent laws and what steps to take to benefit your company the most.