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Council Bluffs Iowa Law Blog

Changes to the Federal Estate Tax Might Mean It's Time to Change Your Will or Trust

"The best-laid plans of mice and men / go oft awry" from Robert Burn's poem "To a Mouse" rings true whenever the U.S. Congress decides to make substantial changes to the federal tax laws.

Estate Planning: More than Just Wills

If you've read our previous blog you know estate planning includes more than just Wills. A proper estate plan utilizes various mechanisms designed to distribute the things you own to the people or organizations you desire when you pass away.

Changes to Workers' Compensation: Medical Examinations

House File 518, signed into law by Governor Branstad, made significant changes to Iowa's workers' compensation law. These changes took effect on July 1, 2017 and will likely lead to increased costs of litigation. One of these changes concerns doctor examinations of injured employees.

Bird Law and Estate Planning?

If you are unfamiliar with the highly specialized, seemingly imaginary area of law known as bird law, you're not alone. My own dad, one of the partners here at Peters Law Firm, has no idea what it is. In fact, if you don't watch the show "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" you probably have no idea what I'm even talking about. But that's okay, because bird law has absolutely nothing to do with estate planning - it's some made up area of law from a TV show. However, it might help to show the problems that can arise if you don't have a proper estate plan in place in the unfortunate event that something should happen to you.

Scheduled Member Injuries in Workers' Compensation

The Code of Iowa spells out the compensation a worker can receive for permanently injuring specific body parts while on the job. The Code refers to various body parts as 'scheduled members' and Section 85.34(2) provides a length of time an injured worker can recover weekly compensation for their injury.

The amount of compensation is "based upon the extent of the disability and upon the basis of eighty percent per week of the employee's average spendable weekly earnings." There are various other provisions within the workers' compensation laws that determine the amount an injured worker may recover, so as usual it is best to contact an experienced attorney who can further explain your specific situation.

The length of time an injured worker may recover for 'scheduled members' are as follows:

Employee or Independent Contractor Classification and the Effect on Workers' Compensation Coverage

The distinction between an employee and an independent contractor is an important one for the purposes of Workers' Compensation coverage. Employees are generally covered under Workers' Compensation laws, while independent contractors are not*.

Workers' Compensation Benefits

People who are injured in the course of doing their jobs have various benefits available under Iowa Workers' Compensation law. The following is a brief overview of the types of benefits available, but as the Workers' Compensation field can be complex you should consider the counsel of an attorney if you have suffered such an injury.

Allowable Damages in Personal Injury Cases

If you have suffered a personal injury through the fault of someone else, you may be able to collect damages (aka money) through the court system. As an injured party, you are not limited to recover only the specific amount of money an accident caused you to spend - such as a hospital bill. Instead, damages can be classified into two general categories: economic and non-economic. Economic damages are more tangible and can generally be found as the amount of money spent as a result of the accident, such as the amount of medical expenses. Non-economic damages can be awarded for things like pain and suffering - which may not have an evident, specific dollar amount like a hospital bill.

Statute of Limitations: Follow the SOLs or You Could Be SOL.

Statute of limitations (SOL) are the laws that set a specific period of time for bringing certain kinds of legal actions.  SOLs vary from state to state and between types of claims.  To ensure the possibility for recovery it is important to be aware of applicable SOLs and to allow your attorney sufficient time to bring your claim.  If you have any questions you should contact an attorney.  


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