CONTINUED GUIDANCE CONCERNING WHEN AN IME IS REIMBURSABLE UNDER 85.39
In Bior v. Hormel, the Iowa Workers’ Compensation Commissioner provided an example of how employees could still receive reimbursement for their IME even while failing to prove their injury was work-related.
Section 85.39 of the Iowa Code provides that employees are entitled to an IME with a physician of their own choosing after an employer-retained physician comments on the employees’ permanent disability. Employees are then permitted to be reimbursed for their IME.
In Bior, the injured employee was unable to prove that her work-related injury arose out of and in the course of her employment. However, she contended that she was still entitled to reimbursement for her Section 85.39 IME.
Citing Dodd v. Fleetguard, Inc., the Commissioner determined that it was not necessary for the employee to prove the injury arose out of and in the course of her employment to qualify for IME reimbursement pursuant to Section 85.39.
The Commissioner then looked to the chronology of the reports to determine if the IME was proper under Section 85.39. The defendant’s expert issued a report regarding the employee’s permanent impairment on January 22. The employee’s expert issued a similar report regarding permanent impairment on January 26. Given that the employee’s expert report followed the defendant’s, thus meeting the requirements provided in Section 85.39, the IME provided by the employee’s expert was proper.
Therefore, the employee was entitled to reimbursement for her expert’s IME.
This post was drafted by Faith Kowalski, a law clerk at Baylor Evnen. If you have questions regarding reimbursements of IMEs in your case, please call Paul Barta or Micah Hawker-Boehnke at 402-475-1075.