Which State Has My Workers’ Compensation Claim?

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Jeff Putnam

Jeff is a workers' compensation attorney located in Omaha, Nebraska.

Sometimes the location of your workers’ compensation jurisdiction is not clear – and this is often an issue in border cities like Omaha, NE and Council Bluffs, IA, where people can live and work in neighboring states.

It can also be an issue when work travel takes an employee through different states, as is often the case for long haul truckers.

But does it matter? Aren’t all workers’ compensation laws pretty much the same from state to state?

The answer is: it absolutely matters! Workers’ compensation laws are developed independently from one state to another, and the effect this has on the employee’s claim can be immense.  For example, below is a chart comparing workers’ compensation issues and the law in Nebraska and Iowa:

Notice – how long an employee has to inform the employer of an injury at work“as soon as is practicable”90 days once the injured employee knows – or should have known – that the injury occurred at work
Choice of doctorAn injured employee can see a physician previously seen by the employee or a family memberThe employer gets to choose the physician
Statute of limitations – the last date when a lawsuit can be filed2 years from the date of injury, or 2 years from the last indemnity or medical payment2 years from the date of injury or 3 years from the last indemnity payment
Maximum weekly indemnity payment for TTD (total temporary disability): the cap on benefit payments an injured person can receive, regardless of normal salary – paid by the year of injuryAs of 1/01/2023, $1029.00As of 7/01/2023, $2199.00  
Minimum weekly indemnity payment – the minimum possible payment regardless of salary$49.00$385.00
Duration of permanent partial disability assistance300 weeks500 weeks
Statutory waiting period – time before an injured employee can start to receive benefits7 days3 days
Compensation rate for indemnity benefits66.67% of average weekly wageIowa uses a table to calculate benefits that incorporates weekly wages, marital status and the number of income tax exemptions.  It averages about 80% of weekly earnings after taxes.

As you can see, while Iowa does not allow employees to choose their physicians, the amount and duration of Iowa benefits are generally more favorable than those in Nebraska.  Every state has different workers’ compensation laws, and they should be carefully considered when determining where to file a claim.  

So what does determine which jurisdiction has a workers’ compensation claim? Considerations may include:

  • Location where the work injury occurred
  • Employer’s principal place of business
  • Employee’s principal place of employment
  • Employee’s state of residence
  • Location where the contract for employment was made

Determining jurisdiction can be complicated, and the employee should not automatically allow the employer to decide where the claim should be filed. They are going to choose the jurisdiction that is most beneficial to them, and not to the employee. 

If you have been injured at work, and there is a question of jurisdiction, an experienced workers’ compensation attorney can help determine the best course of action for you. 

About Jeff

Jeffrey F Putnam is a personal injury attorney and workers’ compensation attorney located in Omaha, Nebraska. If you have head, neck, or back injuries from your job or an auto accident, call today.

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