Workers' compensation claims are not filed with DIAL's Workers' Compensation Division. Workers' compensation claims and benefits are handled by the employer or its insurance carrier or third-party administrator.

DIAL serves as the neutral arbitrator in Iowa that decides contested cases regarding workers' compensation. DIAL also enforces reporting requirements for workers' compensation injuries.

Because DIAL is a neutral party, it cannot provide legal advice to any party. Find more information resources to assist you in obtaining legal advice or finding an attorney, by clicking here.

The steps for filing a workers' compensation claim are:


Notice of Work Injury Made to Employer

If an employee feels they have a work-related injury or condition, the employee should notify the employer as soon as possible. There is a 90-day notice requirement for an employee who believes they have a work-related injury or condition to notify their employer.


Employer Investigation

After an employee reports a work injury or condition, the employer (or the employer's insurance carrier or third-party administrator) will investigate the claim to determine whether to accept or deny it. Any denial must be given to the employee with the reason(s) for the denial.


Contested Cases

A party may start a contested case by filing a petition with DIAL and serving it on the employer (and insurance carrier, if applicable). DIAL does not require parties to contested cases to have an attorney. However, the majority of parties to contested cases before DIAL's Workers' Compensation Division have an attorney. DIAL requires parties to electronically file using the Workers’ Compensation Electronic System (WCES) in contested cases. 


Scheduling an Arbitration Hearing

After the parties have electronically filed pleadings, they must schedule a hearing by jointly submitting a hearing request on WCES. DIAL will issue an order that sets the hearing date and time as well as pre-hearing deadlines for the case. Iowa administrative rules also govern the procedure in contested cases before DIAL.


The Hearing

The deputy workers' compensation commissioner assigned to the case will preside over the hearing.  The deputy will rule on motions, preside over the hearing, and issue a decision on the dispute(s) between the parties. The parties will have the opportunity to identify the disputed issues between them and present evidence in support of their claims and defenses.


The Decision

After presiding over the hearing, the deputy commissioner will issue a decision. A deputy’s arbitration decision will become final unless — within 20 days of the date of the decision or the date an application for rehearing was granted, denied, or deemed denied — a party files an appeal to the workers’ compensation commissioner.  Either party may move for rehearing of a deputy’s decision within 20 days of the date on which the agency issued the decision. A motion for rehearing will be deemed denied unless the deputy issues a ruling granting it within 20 days of the date on which it was filed. 


Appealing to the Commissioner

After an appeal has been filed within specified time frames, the workers' compensation commissioner will issue an order setting deadlines for the parties’ appeal briefs. After the parties have filed their appeal briefs, the commissioner will issue an appeal decision.


Judicial Review

An appeal decision by the commissioner or alternate care decision by a deputy will become final unless — within 30 days of the date of the decision or the date an application for rehearing was granted, denied, or deemed denied — a party seeks judicial review in an appropriate Iowa district court under Iowa Code Chapter 17A.