Erik Luthens

Employer Obligations

The workers’ compensation system provides compensation for employees who were injured at work or suffered an illness because of their job. If the injury is great enough to result in death, workers’ compensation benefits are paid to the employee’s surviving spouse and children or other dependants. Contact a Iowa work injury and accident attorney representing clients in West Des Moines, Iowa today to schedule your initial consultation.

In most states, employers are required to purchase workers’ compensation insurance from an insurance company. In some states, large companies are allowed to self-insure, or act as their own insurance company. Small companies, those with fewer than three or four employees, may not be required to have workers’ compensation insurance. When an employee is injured and files a workers’ compensation claim, this claim is then filed with the insurance company, or with the self-insuring employer, who pays the workers’ compensation benefits. These benefits may include medical and disability compensation, depending on your state.

Unless an employer falls within a specific exception (such as the exception for small companies), the employer without workers’ compensation insurance may be fined and they may be subject to civil and criminal liability.


If an employer doesn’t have workers’ compensation insurance, that employer may be subject to the following penalties:

  • Fines
  • Criminal Prosecution
  • The employer may be held responsible for paying workers’ compensation benefits to the inured employee
  • An injured employee may be able to sue the employer, where the employee would have normally filed a workers’ compensation claim


In most states, employers have extra duties in addition to carrying workers’ compensation insurance. These duties may include:

  • Posting a notice of compliance with workers’ compensation laws at each work site in a place that’s in plain view
  • Providing immediate emergency medical treatment if an employee is injured at work or on the job
  • Offering further medical treatment if the injured employee is unable to pick a doctor or if the employee informs the employer in writing of a desire not to do so
  • Keeping a log of injury reports for every accident that results in an injury. These reports should detail injuries that require medical treatment other than first aid or more than two treatments by a doctor or the person who provides first aid. Injury reports should also cover injuries that require time off work more than just the day or shift on which the accident occurred.
  • Sending a copy of the injury to the workers’ compensation board office. The employer’s insurance company should also be provided with a copy of the report. If an employer does not make an injury report, they may be guilty of a misdemeanor crime, which is punishable by fine.
  • Complying with requests for more information on injured workers when the request comes from the workers’ compensation board or the employer’s insurance company. The information that must be provided may include statement’s of the employee’s earnings before and after the accident, the date of the employee’s return to work, or any other reports that may help determine the employee’s work status after the injury.

Des Moines work comp injury lawyer, attorney West Des Moines, IA, workers' compensation law firm - If you would like to schedule a initial consultation regarding your case, please contact the Luthens Law Offices at (800) 685-7948 or complete our inquiry form.