Court of Appeals of Iowa Confirms the Importance of Accurate Medical Histories in Cases Regarding Causation

by | Sep 25, 2014

Recently, in Bakken v Orwig Inc, the Court of Appeals of Iowa affirmed a dismissal of a Claimant’s Petition on the issue of causation. Essentially, the issue surrounded two conflicting opinions from Claimant’s and Defendant’s experts. At the hearing level, the Deputy Commissioner determined that the opinion from the Defendant’s expert was more controlling.

In affirming the same, the Court of Appeals noted that the Claimant’s expert’s opinion was predicated upon the Claimant’s medical history in which the Claimant denied having any ongoing or preexisting complaints in the years and months preceding the Claimant’s alleged work related accident. The Defendant’s expert’s opinion took into account medical records which documented a history of preexistence. Noting that the history given by the Claimant was inaccurate, the Court of Appeals of Iowa agreed that the greatest credible weight should be afforded to the opinion of the employer’s expert who had the most accurate understanding of the Claimant’s preexisting history.

While there is nothing “new” or groundbreaking regarding this decision , this does stress the need to adequately investigate claims regarding causation. Many times when a claim is asserted, we will see employers or insurers simply ask for medical records from the date of incident forward. Oftentimes, this results in an inaccurate understanding of a Claimant’s pre-accident medical history. Given the same, we would recommend that employers request medical records even for those dates preexisting the Claimant’s injury to ensure there is no preexisting history that would affect the issue of causation.

For questions regarding proper investigation into causation, please contact Iowa Workers’ Compensation Attorney Paul Barta at or 402-475-1075 to speak with any of Baylor Evnen’s Iowa Workers’ Compensation Attorneys.