While injuries on the job can certainly affect family members and those close to the injured worker, a court in Iowa ruled that the wife of an injured worker may not benefit from his workers’ comp payments and use them for her own mental healing after her husband’s accident.
Craig Hoyt, who worked for Wendling Quarries, lost his left arm after a bad accident on the job. He also underwent therapy for depression, PTSD and dementia. His wife Amy became his primary caretaker, which likely brought some stress and mental anguish upon her as well. His counselor suggested that they both undergo individualized counseling, but his employer denied them.
When the couple was granted marriage counseling through the work comp commission, they stipulated that both Hoyt and his wife were to receive the counseling, and his wife could not receive individual attention outside of the marriage counseling. Or at least they wouldn’t pay for individual attention. After the couple lost their case in Polk County they went to the Iowa Court of Appeals. They too decided that the employer should not pay for individualized services for his wife- even if the treatment might somehow benefit the injured worker. Though the worker and his wife asked them to define the statute liberally they defined it literally and said that benefits would apply directly to the injury in question and the injured worker only.