Iowa Court of Appeals Sides with Injured Factory Worker

Factory worker working on the line

Rosalva Ochoa is forty-three years old and was born in Mexico.  She does not read or write in English so she is limited to the types of jobs she can take.  For the most part, her jobs have been unskilled labor for a company.  So it was very unfortunate that Rosalva was injured on the job twice.  She worked for JBS Swift & Company who was insured by American Zurich Insurance Company. She sought benefits from Workers' Compensation because she could not do her job duties due to her initial injury and then her second injury.  Rosalva Ochoa was awarded Workers' Compensation benefits for these two injuries she sustained on the job-- a hernia for which she had surgery and a shoulder injury for which she was found to be permanently and totally disabled.  

Double Recovery

The employer appealed the case because they argued that there was not enough evidence to support an industrial disability.  They also argued that Rosalva should not be able to receive both benefits at the same time because "double recovery" is prohibited by Iowa law.  However, the supreme court has allowed a worker to receive concurrent industrial disability awards for successive injuries sustained with the same employer.  The result of the appeal was that Rosalva was allowed to receive both her permanent partial disability benefits and permanent total disability benefits for an overlapping period of approximately six years.  

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