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Legislative Update: Idiopathic and Unexplained Falls - June 20, 2019

Effective July 1, 2019, injuries in the workplace from idiopathic and unexplained falls will be subject to a new law.  On April 23, 2019, Governor Reynolds signed into law an amendment to Iowa Code section 85.61(7).  The existing section defines “personal injur[ies] arising out of and in the course of employment” and has been amended to exclude idiopathic and unexplained falls on level surfaces:

c. Personal injuries due to idiopathic or unexplained falls from a level surface onto the same level surface do not arise out of and in the course of employment and are not compensable under this chapter.

This legislation was in response to the Bluml v. Dee Jay’s Inc. case, which dealt with an idiopathic fall.  As discussed in a prior blog post on March 7, 2019, the Iowa Supreme Court held there was no blanket rule rendering certain categories of workplace falls as non-compensable.  With this new amendment to Iowa Code section 85.61(7), idiopathic falls (as well as unexplained falls) from a level surface will not be compensable as a matter of law.

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